School Districts React To Gov. Stitt's New School COVID-19 Quarantine Policies

Wednesday, January 13th 2021, 5:36 pm
By: Hunter McKee

After Gov. Kevin Stitt announced changes to local schools COVID-19 policies, a number of school districts expressed their feelings over the matter.

On Tuesday, Stitt announced that if schools follow the proper safety protocols, including requiring masks and social distancing, they could stop the mandatory two-week quarantine for those exposed to COVID-19.

“The biggest challenge facing lots of school districts is quarantining,” said Stitt.

 According to the governor, this policy is intended to keep students and teachers in the classroom. He said refusing to offer in-person school is jeopardizing our kids’ education.

“So many teachers want to be back in school to help these kids, but they’re being denied the chance,” said Stitt.

However, some school districts said the high number of cases is concerning and wearing a mask and social distancing is only part of the solution.

 “Our county and our zip code specifically is some of the highest in the state as far as spreading the virus,” said Jason Simeroth, superintendent with Yukon Public Schools.

 Simeroth said quarantining those exposed keeps not only students safe, but teachers and staff as well.

“By doing the quarantine, we’re protecting everybody as best we can,” said Simeroth.

Other districts expressed similar feelings, OKCPS Superintendent Sean McDaniel said in part:

“...The guidance does not appear to follow CDC guidelines and deviates dramatically from best practice as it relates to mitigation efforts in school buildings…”

 The governor did mention that this guidance does not apply to exposures at after-school activities. Schools should continue to require students to quarantine if they’re exposed in situations where masking and distancing was not followed.