An Oklahoma school district is defending its quarantine policy, which does not follow CDC guidelines.
Woodward Public Schools superintendent Kyle Reynolds said they won't completely follow the guidelines in an effort to keep more kids to stay in the classroom.
The CDC guidelines for quarantining students exposed to COVID-19 in schools said if you’re within six feet of someone who has tested positive for 15 minutes or more, you must be placed into quarantine.
Reynolds, however, disagrees.
“There comes a time when we see evidence on the ground [and] on the frontlines that’s contrary to what we’re being told to do,” Reynolds said. “There comes a time where we just have to stand up and do what’s right for our kids.”
The district said it follow the majority of CDC guidelines, but when it comes to quarantining those exposed to COVID-19, as long as masks were worn, the district has opted to only isolate the COVID-19 positive person.
By doing so, Reynolds said they’re able to keep more children in the classroom.
“How many kids have been put out on quarantine, two, three, four times?” Reynolds said. “Just missing out on construction and social [and] emotional needs that it was time to make a move.”
Reynolds said the district has gone so far as to implement a mask mandate and increase restrictions where necessary. While state superintendent Joy Hofmeister applauds the district’s additional measures, she doesn’t support any deviation from guidelines.
“…As COVID(-19) cases surge, it’s critical we abide by quarantine rules set by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the CDC,” a statement from Hofmeister said in part.
A number of districts switched to remote learning after a statewide increase in cases over the last few weeks. Reynolds said while they’ve chosen a different path, the district plans to monitor the procedures and will make changes if and when they are needed.
“If we see evidence at any point that this was the wrong move to make, we will immediately pull the plug and reverse our decision and go back to the recommended guidelines,” Reynolds said.