Private school in Lawton chooses to mandate masks

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - For the first time since the pandemic, the Lawton Academy of Arts of Sciences is mandating masks for students and staff.

The mandate will go into effect when students return to school on Monday.

Secondary Principal Michelle Smith tells me after returning to school from the long Labor Day weekend. She got six emails about students contracting Covid.

When they returned to school on Tuesday, two students and a teacher went home not feeling well.

It prompted the school board to call for a switch to virtual learning for 10-days a change Smith said was simple.

“Last year, we did virtual in conjunction with in-person. The virtual was going on as the classes were happening, so we were zooming the classes teaching some online, some in the classroom. They got everything that we would have here, expected the camaraderie. My teachers really learned Zoom. They have really learned how to use Canvas,” Smith said.

The 10-days wraps up on Monday, but the district is still proceeding with caution by implementing a mask mandate to prevent the virus from doing any more damage than it already has.

“The best thing mask does for us is remind kids that we aren’t in normal times, that they need to distances, that they need to wash their hands, they need to not eat after each other. They need to be careful,” Smith said.

The school made it through last year and the first month of this year without any student Covid cases.

She said simple precautionary efforts have helped the school stay in the clear.

“We have been disinfecting every day. We have gone through several times of teaching the kids; this is why we wash our hands. We have not allowed students to go in between buildings so that if we did had to quarantine we could just quarantine a building. All of the adults were in masks last year because that’s where it was spreading,” Smith said.

Smith hopes this is the first and last time the school will have to shut down because of COVID concerns.

“I’m trying to make sure we can come to in-person learning that we do not have to shut school down again. I’m hopeful that I will only have to do a quarantine here or there of a class. I’m hopeful that won’t even happen,” Smith said.

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