LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Governor Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday that Oklahoma schools with a mask mandate policy do not have to quarantine staff and students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 unless they are experiencing symptoms.
The Superintendent of Cache Public Schools Chad Hance said the news of Stitt’s updated COVID policy came as a shock yesterday. At a meeting last night, the school board had the chance to discuss how they want to proceed.
“Our approach is going to be more of a common sense type approach,” Hance said. “I’m not going to say that we’re not going to not quarantine kids, but also we’re going to use our best judgement on different situations.”
The board wants to handle it on a case-by-case basis because they’ve quarantined so many students who had potential contact, and eventually tested negative for the virus. Some students have even missed as much as four weeks of school due to quarantine policies.
“That makes you want to think ‘That’s good, we don’t have to quarantine them, but also you have that fear of ‘Well, they have been exposed to somebody,’” Hance said. “We know this is contagious. If we let one slip through the crack we’re going to continue the spread.”
A second grade teacher in the district Skyler Dabney said she feels Cache is making the right decision. She’s had positive cases in her classroom, but she doesn’t want her students to miss school and fall behind if it’s not necessary.
“I think that gives them a little more freedom to make decisions,” Dabney said. “That ‘Hey, they’re all the way over here, they’re wearing a mask, they’re not face-to-face. They should be safe.’”
Hance said to determine whether or not to quarantine staff and students, they’ll asks questions like “Did the individuals involved have masks on? Were they at least six feet apart?”
They’ll still seek guidance from local health officials on best policy. Out of about 2,000 students, the district has had to quarantine about 50. Hance said the district wants students in school, but they want to be safe about it so they don’t have to go all virtual.