School Districts Begin Discussions Over New In-School Quarantine Policy

Monday, November 30th 2020, 6:12 pm
By: News On 6, Erick Payne

State leaders will now allow districts to have in-school quarantine for students who've been exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom.

Monday is essentially the first time school districts are discussing this new state policy addition as administrators return from break.

News On 6 reached out to Jenks, Broken Arrow, Bixby and Union. They said they have no plans right now to change how they've been handling students who've been exposed to the virus in the classroom.

The state said some students are losing essential school benefits if they have to quarantine at home for 14 days, which is why they're adding this option. Districts would have to comply with several things in order to enact the policy.

It includes the typical distancing and mask requirements, and the students would take COVID-19 tests on eight out of the 14 days of quarantine.

The CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy said this could increase the likelihood students could pass the virus to adults.

"If these kids are infected with COVID-19, they're sitting in a classroom, they're not showing symptoms yet, that becomes the risk they're going to pass it on to adults in the school, or take it home from exposure with other kids in the classroom," Joe Dorman said.

This optional policy will be in effect until December 23.

You can read the full guidelines for the policy below.

Any school choosing to adopt an in-school quarantine policy must be in compliance with the following guidelines:

  1. Availability of facilities that will permit housing of quarantined students in a socially distanced environment, and away from contact with non-quarantined students and staff. Examples could include (but not limited to) a gymnasium, auditorium, or cafeteria. The area must be dedicated exclusively to the housing of quarantined students during school hours. Use of the facility outside of school hours should be limited, and follow thorough cleaning.
  2. Quarantined students shall remain in the space at all times during the school day except for breaks for restroom and outside time
  3. Quarantined students will maintain social distancing of AT LEAST 6 feet within the quarantine space (with greater distance strongly encouraged)
  4. Quarantined students will be required to wear masks at all times except when eating
  5. Quarantined students will be tested repeatedly (at least on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, and 14 of quarantine, but more frequently if schools choose), using the Binax Now rapid diagnostic test.
  6. Tests will be provided to the schools by the OSDH.
  7. Schools must have a CLIA-waiver number, and appropriately trained personnel to collect, perform, and interpret the test
  8. Schools must report results of the tests to the OSDH daily
  9. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 (either at school, or a different test performed by another qualified testing facility) shall immediately enter isolation and is no longer be permitted in the in-school quarantine program
  10. Students in the in-school quarantine program are not permitted to participate in extracurricular activities; ride buses to or from school; attend after-school events; or be in any other situations where contact with non-quarantined persons is likely
  11. Schools must be able to provide supervision of students in quarantine. This supervision does not need to include instruction; students will be engaged in distance learning. However, it will require appropriate adult supervision to ensure any student who becomes ill can receive appropriate
  12. care.
  13. Schools need to provide an opportunity for students to get outside multiple times a day. This time should not permit interaction among quarantined students- social distancing is still required. However, it should allow for unmasked time and some degree of individual physical activity.
  14. Parents of quarantined students must be informed of the requirements of the program, and sign an agreement for their student to attend.