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Covid cases prompting many southwest Oklahoma schools to close

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:49 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Hundreds of students and teachers across Southwest Oklahoma are not able to go to schools right now due to a surge in COVID cases since the Christmas holiday break.

Hallways at Lawton and Cache Public Schools will be empty until January 18.

Over the weekend, Covid cases started to pick up for Cache Public Schools students and staff, but on Monday morning Superintendent Chad Hance realized how severe the situation was when he saw how low attendance numbers were.

“Right now, we probably 25-percent of our students absent, and then probably have about 50 staff members that are not present,” Hance said.

The 25-percent that Hance mentioned totals to a little over 400 students in the district.

He said the fact that the virus is still around is getting to him.

“It’s very frustrating. We come out of Christmas break, we started this semester, and everything was going well. We think we kind of have this behind us a little bit, we can see people talking about the surges, and it just comes in waves,” Hance said.

Lawton Public Schools is also dealing with a shortage of staff.

About 15 to 20 percent of their staff is out, along; with 10 percent of the student population.

Superintendent Kevin Hime said they have had to make many adjustments these past couple of days.

“It’s been a struggle for our principals,” Hime said. “When rates are high it is not difficult for the Superintendents because the principals are the ones in the buildings and in the end having to find subs or cover this class or cover that class or go ask a counselor to go cover that class. If a counselor is covering a class, we don’t have a councilor that day. In some cases at the high schools, I know that they’ve had to put multiple classes in the auditorium or in the cafeteria or different situations.”

Hime hopes that the variant will die down soon, so districts will not have to shut down again.

“We know kids need to be in school. We know they need face-to-face. We’re able to provide two meals a day that kids miss when we call these things out, and so it is a struggle for us,” Hime added.

LPS students will be virtual learning the rest of this week and Cache will be completely shut down.

You can find of full list of school closings or changes to remote learning here school closings

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