New guidelines from Governor Kevin Stitt’s office mean students may not have to be quarantined if they’re exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom, as long as they don’t have symptoms and were wearing a mask.
The recommendations are drawing strong reactions from some parents on both sides.
Some parents still navigating distance learning hope it gets them back to class, but others tell me it will only make COVID-19 cases worse.
The new guidelines from Stitt mean that school districts offering in-person learning can skip a two-week quarantine if someone in a classroom or riding a school bus is potentially exposed to COVID-19, so long as they were wearing a mask and not showing symptoms. That does not apply to activities outside the classroom, like sports.
For some parents, like Les Kaup, the guidance brings hope.
"I applaud Governor Stitt for revising the guidelines," Kaup said.
Kaup's son Leslie is a fourth grader at Tulsa Public Schools. Leslie is autistic and Kaup said he has been really struggling with distance learning. Kaup hopes the guidelines will make it easier for TPS to go back to in-person learning.
"It'll help keep staff in the schools so there's much less of a staffing shortage," Kaup said.
Britni Kelso thinks the guidelines are a bad idea. Her daughter Hailey is an 11th grader at Sapulpa Public Schools and her son Caden is in Pre-K. Both are in virtual learning.
"What's heartbreaking to me is all these people laying in hospital beds," Kelso said, "And they're saying, let's get these kids back in school."
Some districts, like Bixby Public Schools, said these new guidelines are difficult.
“This is extremely convoluted and difficult operationally and logistically for any school district to manage these quarantines this way," said Superintendent Rob Miller. "What I am afraid of is it really sets school leaders up as being a target.”
Governor Stitt's data to back these guidelines comes from a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The guidelines said if someone tests positive for COVID-19, they still have to isolate at home.
You can read the full guidelines here.