Duncan Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan said the district is awaiting further clarification Wednesday morning after announcements came down from state leadership Tuesday regarding quarantine requirements for schools across Oklahoma.
As of Jan. 12, state officials loosened quarantine requirements for schools. Districts can skip the mandatory two-week quarantine for teachers and students as long as they’re following COVID-19 safety protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing, health officials said Tuesday.
While the mandatory quarantine will still be required for those who test positive for COVID-19, for the first time, the students and teachers who were potentially exposed can remain in school — as long as they’re not exhibiting any symptoms and their districts are following proper COVID-19 safety procedures, said Dr. Lance Frye, the state’s interim commissioner of health.
According to Deighan, they are awaiting further clarification before taking future steps.
“Duncan Public Schools’ COVID policy requires us to follow Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) guidelines, but we have not yet received their guidance,” Deighan said. “As soon as we receive official OSDH information, we will share with you.”
Deighan issued the statement on Wednesday morning after a previous discussion with Duncan Public School’s Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night where they discussed Gov. Kevin Stitt’s recent statement.
Deighan said, “it essentially changes the rules for schools.”
Deighan approached the board on Tuesday night for feedback before pursuing any changes to the guidelines, as well as getting with the principals on Wednesday morning before making anything official.
Below is a copy of the Duncan district COVID-19 policy:
COVID POLICY 9000 Excerpt
Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, DPS cannot responsibly predict future interventions or actions, but Duncan Public Schools can outline the general principles and structures guiding our decision-making for the 2020-21 school year. Furthermore, DPS can provide educational options for parents/guardians and students as well as safeguards and options for staff or students temporarily impacted by COVID-19. To provide our students with as much normalcy and safety as possible, we will rely on the following state authorities for guidance:
1. The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OKSDE) is our guiding educational authority as outlined in the Return to Learn Oklahoma document related to the areas of School Operations, Academics & Growth, Whole Child & Family Supports, and School Personnel. Each item outlined in the Return to Learn (RTL) document is specifically addressed by DPS and forms the basis for our 2020-21 COVID Mitigation Plan. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary. The OKSDE document is available online: https://sde.ok.gov/sites/default/files/Return%20to%20Learn%20Oklahoma.pdf
2. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OKSDH) is our guiding healthcare authority. All COVID-related health concerns will be addressed according to OKSDH guidelines and all incidents of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases will be reported according to the Stephens County Health Department guidelines.
Any mandates by state, federal, or local authorities may supersede this document. Duncan Public Schools will comply with OKSDH and OKSDE mandates.
Janelle Stecklein contributed to this report.