BETHANY, Okla. (KFOR) – The practice of quarantining ended at Bethany Public Schools Tuesday night in a close school board vote, with those in favor of ending quarantining winning three to two.
“I just think that parents as a whole know their children better than anybody else,” said parent Elizabeth Kreeb. “They are the best advocates and the best people to be making decisions for their own children.”
She’s happy that if her three kids ever quarantine from classes, it’ll now be her choice.
Superintendent Drew Eichelberger said the board’s proponents of the policy change no longer want to send students away from quality in-person learning when they may never even get sick from COVID-19.
“The board members who voted to end quarantining protocols believe it is important to keep healthy students in the classroom learning,” he explained to KFOR. “They further believe Bethany parents should make these decisions for their children. Their vote indicated that they do not want school employees to add quarantine phone calls to their long list of daily duties.”
Kreeb likes the decision because the district will still contact trace, keeping parents in the loop if their child’s been exposed. Parents are then allowed to voluntarily quarantine their exposed child if they’d like.
“It just upholds the parent’s rights to make decisions of what they feel is best for their children in terms of quarantining or not,” she said of the decision.
On the other side of the fence, parents are completely questioning the wisdom of the board’s decision.
“I would ask them what on earth do they think they’re doing?” said a parent, who wanted to remain anonymous. This parent said her two kids at Earl Harris Elementary School are now unsafe.
“It just seemed like that was a drastic measure to completely remove the quarantine when our cases have been going up even with it,” she said. “There’s no longer any safety measures in place that says if this child was around somebody that tested positive, even though they may be asymptomatic, they can still go to school without any quarantine procedure in place, meaning they could easily spread it just as much as the next person,” she said.
As for a mask mandate, Eichelberger said 90 percent of their students are not masking right now. Board members think a mandate would be ineffective because too many parents would opt out of it.