Southeast Oklahoma school district resorts to charging students for masks

Classrooms & COVID-19

Starting this week, students who show up to class in Broken Bow schools will be charged for masks provided by the district.

BROKEN BOW, Okla. (KTAL/KSHV) – Starting this week, students who show up to class in Broken Bow schools will be charged for masks provided by the district.

In a message shared Monday with parents and students of Broken Bow High School and Rector Johnson Middle School, the district notes that students are all aware that there are several classrooms they attend daily where masks are required and the decision comes after the money to pay for the masks ran out.

“This decision to continue to protect our most vulnerable was supported and approved by our school board several months ago. We have been very accommodating and patient with students as they continue to arrive to school without a mask. We have issued reuseable masks countless times to our students but now they have depleted our resources.”

The district is now making the masks available for $1 to students that come to school without them. If they do not have $1 to buy one, they will be asked to call a parent or guardian to bring them a mask or bring them $1 to purchase one.

Masks are recommended for teachers and other essential school personnel by the Oklahoma State Department of Health under a public health advisory issued in August, which does not make the same recommendations for students. COVID-19 precautions and regulations in schools are instead the responsibility of local officials and students in Broken Bow schools are required to wear masks in certain classes.

The state of Oklahoma does not release data on coronavirus cases in schools. As of Tuesday, Oklahoma State Department of Health data showed there were 3,376 coronavirus cases reported in McCurtain County. The county remains at “moderate” risk level for virus spread, based on a rate of more than 39 cases per 100,000 people and has averaged 14 cases per day over the past seven days.

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