A new policy started Monday that the Oklahoma State Department of Health rolled out for school districts to adopt if they want to. The new short-term policy would allow a student who was exposed to COVID-19 inside of the classroom to quarantine at the school instead of at home.
The first district to adopt the short-term policy was Mustang after their board voted to approve it. They will be implementing it at the high school but wanted to stress this is voluntary and in order to participate students must have been exposed in the classroom.
"We work in the educational world not the health world so when they had this proposal this is something we knew checked the box of health and safety,” said Charles Bradley, the Superintendent of Mustang Public Schools. “If it doesn't check that box, we don't even look at anything after that."
Bradley said figuring out how to safely implement the program focuses on two main factors, one, finding a good space that is away from other students and staff.
"We were able to identify three classrooms that were on the edge of campus. They have their own entrance exit and own bathrooms,” said Bradley.
Second was staffing. Bradley said the supervisor doesn't have to be a certified teacher since all students quarantining will technically be doing distance learning.
"It could be anybody that is an employee of the district,” said Bradley.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has given strict guidelines for districts to follow including testing, provided by the department of health, every other day.
But, Mustang Schools said they'll take it one step further by testing their quarantined students daily.
"Whenever a student shows up to the classroom or building - they will go into one area where they will be tested. A rapid test that takes 15 minutes. If they are negative they go into the classroom and if they are positive the parents are called and they are able to start their isolation period,” said Bradley.
Again, this is voluntary for students and the supervisors. The pilot program goes from now until December 23.