Some Edmond Public School parents have made it known they're unhappy with the district's COVID-19 quarantine policies for weeks now. A small group is taking things one step further Tuesday and took legal action against the district.
Six parents made up of three married couples are named as plaintiffs in the near 10-page long lawsuit. In the lawsuit, they argue different quarantine policies based on vaccination status violates constitutional rights.
In mid-August, Edmond Public Schools amended its quarantine policies to require exposed students to stay home but how long they have to remain quarantined depends on their vaccination status.
The change caused an uproar for some families as parents protested the change at school board meetings and their own rallies.
The amendment states if the student is vaccinated and exposed to COVID, EPS recommends kids get tested, but the student can go to school if they don't have symptoms.
Unvaccinated students are required to stay home at least five days. They can get a COVID test on the fifth day and come back with a negative result on Day 7. If students don't get tested, they must stay home 10 days and can come back on the 11th day if they haven't experienced symptoms.
As of Tuesday, Edmond schools have 150 students with the virus and 10 staff members. That's about .57% of the district's population. Over 400 students and six staff members are currently in quarantine, or about 1.56% of EPS' population.
In the lawsuit, parents outlined two dozen reasons they say the school should put an end to the policy. They claim the required quarantine violates the students' and their parents' constitutional rights.
The lawsuit cites Senate Bill 658 and said the district's quarantine policy violates that, as well. The families who filed the suit want a "temporary and permanent injunction" that prohibits the school from required quarantines for unvaccinated kids. The families who filed also want "compensatory damages for the injuries Defendants have caused them and their children."
The lawsuit also claims quarantine has negative effects on kids like anxiety, anger and restless for older children and adolescence. Younger children, the lawsuit claims, could regress and become clingy.
Edmond Public Schools released a statement in response to the lawsuit.
Edmond Public Schools was notified Monday afternoon that three families intended to file a lawsuit against the district seeking injunctive relief against the district’s student quarantine procedures,” the statement begins. “The district notified the plaintiffs on Tuesday morning that it would not immediately be changing its quarantine procedures based on the threat of possible legal action. The district has been informed that the lawsuit was filed and that a restraining order has been requested. The district’s Covid procedures were developed to keep students and staff safe and to keep students in school five days a week. The district continuously monitors its Covid statistics and would make adjustments in the future based on positive cases and quarantine data trends.
"Part of this is an effort to keep our schools open,” EPS superintendent Angela Grunewald said. “If we were not quarantining, I believe our numbers would be at a situation where we would probably have to close schools.”
The school also has a temporary mask mandate in place through mid-October, but parents can opt out of the mandate.