Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-01-12 18:28:01 –
Oklahoma City (KFOR) – The new controversial guidelines surrounding school quarantine released by the state on Tuesday have already been questioned by Oklahoma education leaders.
Governor Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma Health Department leaders have announced that quarantine after being infected with COVID-19 at school may not be necessary in the future.
“Schools that force the use of masks do not need to isolate potential exposure unless symptoms are seen,” Stitt said.
This is an effort to get children to school safely. The governor said he was confident that it was safe, based on investigations conducted in other states.
According to the new policy, those who test positive or have symptoms should continue to be quarantined.
However, as long as everyone in the classroom wears a mask and practices social distance, exposed people do not need to be isolated at home.
Mr Stitt said he believed that the change in the rules would be more effective than imposing a state-wide masking obligation.
“We believe that more school districts will now do that, even if they are not obliged to mask, because the quarantine rules have changed,” the governor said.
Stitt accused the school district of “refusing” students to return to learning directly and “refusing” teachers to return to the classroom.
However, not all districts are in favor of the new policy.
After the Governor’s press conference on Tuesday, Mustang Public School Superintendent Charles Bradley sent the following note to his family:
“You may have heard that the Oklahoma Department of Health (OSDH) today announced new policy changes that could affect school quarantine. We will review this new OSDH policy in writing. We look forward to following the science-based protocols scrutinized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and healthcare professionals. The health and safety of our school community is our number one priority and This has always been the case. We have developed a number of COVID-related safety procedures, as indicated in our Health / Safety Plan, and believe in the effectiveness of those plans. At this time, quarantine practices. No plan changes are expected, including. We are following the revised CDC Quarantine Guidance published later in the previous semester. We are working with regional and state health partners to develop the protocol. And have been monitoring. We will continue to follow public health guidance and safety protocols while monitoring staff absenteeism indicators to ensure that schools operate effectively and safely. “
Mustang Public School Superintendent Charles Bradley
Oklahoma Superintendent of Education Joy Hoffmeister was not invited to a press conference on Tuesday and was not consulted before the new guidelines were announced, a spokeswoman said.
Hoffmeister, a strong supporter of Maskman Date at school, issued the following statement:
“The impact of the pandemic on education was challenging and serious. This option emphasizes the need for mask requirements in schools, but ignores quarantine guidelines from the CDC and other infectious disease professionals. We can’t support you conscientiously. There is no doubt that we all want our students and teachers to be in the classroom safely, but COVID is rampant in Oklahoma. Face-to-face instruction is It is important, and it is also important to reduce the spread of the virus. They are not mutually exclusive. “
Oklahoma Superintendent of Education Joyhoff Meister
In response to Stitt’s new school quarantine policy, Alicia Priest, President of the Oklahoma Education Association, issued the following statement:
“The governor and his team have many of the same values as the educators that make up OEA. We want the best for our children. No matter where we live, no one. Believe that you should have a great public school. Face-to-face learning is great for teachers and students. You can’t wait for COVID-19 to disappear completely before the school returns to normal.
However, the governor’s remarks are confusing.
The governor says the school is safe, but what is he doing to ensure that? He does not require quarantine if there is a mask policy, but does not require a strong mask policy. Instead of tackling the pandemic as a whole, he chooses the data. Even sources quoted by the governor say that school buildings are no longer safe when community expansion reaches dangerous levels.
He preaches local rule unless he agrees with local choices. The local school board, which listens to the opinions of local parents, is the decision maker for schools in Oklahoma.
The governor says the schools are not open, but where are these schools that are not open? Many educators and support professionals have fought the pandemic while keeping education, feeding students, and keeping everyone safe. Burnout is real and many people are ill. Some died. Don’t blame the teachers for not trying when they are in the fire now.
Children are running out of time this year. The governor needs to stop spending time separating teachers and parents. His top priority is to mitigate the spread of the virus, not to scapegoat the local school board, to force parents to oppose teachers, or to avoid liability. “
Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest
Torie Shoecraft, president of the Oklahoma City American Teachers’ Federation (AFL-CIO), has sharply criticized Stitt’s new policy and issued the following statement:
“Today, AFT was shocked to see Governor Stitt outline his plans to return to school at a press conference. He ignored science and the safety of our teachers and students. It is clear that we have a mission to do so. At a press conference we noticed the absence of the Governor and Hoffmeister Superintendent of Education. A decision of this size should include all parties.
Eliminating the district’s quarantine policy could prove harmful to our school and the Oklahoma community. The CDC continues to recommend post-exposure quarantine, unlike the changes proposed by the Governor.
We want to go back to face-to-face learning, but it is imperative that the safety of our community members be our top priority.
We call on the governor to immediately provide vaccinations to teachers. The focus should be on immunizing teachers rather than pressured the district to open in an unsafe environment.
Teacher and student safety has always been a major priority of the AFT – American Federation of Teachers. “
AFL-CIO President Trie Shoe Craft
On Tuesday, OSDH officials also announced that teachers over the age of 65 could begin vaccination this week. They couldn’t say when young teachers were eligible for vaccination.
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