Claremore Public Schools will continue to conduct two-week quarantines for students and staff who were exposed to COVID while following safety protocols.
“Right now, we’re going to do the exact same thing we’ve been doing,” Claremore Public Schools Superintendent Brian Frazier said
Governor Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday that Oklahoma schools following safety protocols, including mask-wearing and social distancing, will be permitted to forgo the mandatory two-week quarantine period for potential COVID-19 exposures.
“We need to put our students first, and we need to get them back in class,” said Gov. Stitt in a media release. “Refusing to offer in-person school is jeopardizing our kids' education; it’s jeopardizing teachers' careers; and it’s jeopardizing the future of the State of Oklahoma. Today, we’re announcing a new policy that will help us keep schools open safely. It will also help encourage and reward mask wearing in schools across the state. Moving forward, schools that enforce the use of masks will not have to quarantine students that were potentially exposed to COVID-19 unless they are showing symptoms.”
The new policy states if masks and social distancing wasn’t followed, those exposed need to quarantine.
“Additionally, the updated quarantine guidance does not apply if the exposure occurs during after-school activities, including sports,” the media release states. “Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must continue to isolate regardless where they contracted the virus or were wearing a mask.”
Frazier said the board decided to keep their safety protocols in place due to COVID cases being the highest they’ve ever been.
“Guidance is different now, however, the numbers is why we're really not having an in depth discussion in whether or not we should change,” he said. “I think the numbers so high make everyone uncomfortable with any change.”
According to the CPS COVID-19 Dashboard, the total number of positive cases within students stand at 132, with positive cases in staff at 49.
Frazier said now isn’t the time to try to make changes.
“I don’t know if right now’s the best time for us to take something by model, that has been pretty successful, and change it to possibly more exposure,” he said.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard, Rogers County has 8,048 COVID cases – making it the sixth highest county.
“We will have to make that decision later once our numbers go down,” he said. “It’s something we’ll look at for sure, but right now is not the time.”
Frazier said they’ve been wearing masks and following the CDC guidelines since March.
“We’ve been masked up since day one,” he said. “We’ve believed in masks since day one.”
Frazier told the school board during its monthly meeting that they have been approved to administer COVID tests.
“We are approved, which establishes us as a laboratory to test,” he said.
Frazier said as of right now they are only testing teachers.
“We have not expanded it yet to students,” he said.
Frazier said they haven’t extended it because only one nurse has gone through the OKMRC Volunteer Program.
Frazier said they were given a limited number of testing kits.
Frazier also told the board he reached out to the Oklahoma State Health Department Regional Director about becoming a point of distribution for the vaccine.
“We made ourselves available,” he said. “We’re just kind of waiting.”