Yesterday (01-12-21) Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced a change to the state's official COVID-19 quarantine policy for schools. He was joined by the Secretary of Education Ryan Walters and the Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye at the press conference to announce and discuss the new and updated policies. The changes address quarantine recommendations for students who have been exposed to COVID-19 but aren't showing symptoms and haven't tested positive for the virus.

Most of S.W. Oklahoma including Lawton have returned to school and in person learning, or has the option to return. There's still a lot of districts that are still virtual only though. For the schools who are open for in person learning across the state there's been issues with COVID exposure and the quarantine policies. In the past if a student was exposed to Corona virus they had to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days, even if the exposure happened while at school. After the quarantine if no symptoms were present they could return to school after that, or with a negative COVID test.

There's been a lot of confusion with the updated policy, or misunderstanding. The updated quarantine policy states that if a student was exposed while at school and was wearing a mask along with everyone else they don't have to quarantine. Why the change? Well in the past if someone tested positive for COVID and was in your classroom or had any contact with you in the hallways or elsewhere in the school you'd have to quarantine because of exposure. Entire classrooms were being quarantined.

Now if the exposure happened somewhere else that's a whole different story. So if a family member tested positive you'd still have to quarantine because you were exposed at home. If you've been exposed some other way off school grounds and while not wearing a mask and following all the usual COVID safety protocols you'd also have to quarantine. Of course if you test positive for the virus it's a 10 day quarantine.

I've seen all over Facebook and elsewhere people misquoting the new policy and what it actually says. It's not saying if you're exposed no problem you can still come to school or if a close friend or family member was positive there's no issues with returning to school without quarantining. It's very specific and the type of exposure is also very specific. The new policy states in school exposure to COVID.

At the end of the day you'll have to make up your own mind on what you and your family are comfortable with. If you disagree with this change keep your student at home enrolled in virtual schooling.

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