Teachers voice concerns over new in-school quarantine policy allowed by OSDH

Classrooms & COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma educators are voicing their fears over the decision to allow students to quarantine together at school.

Mustang Schools is the first district to institute the new policy, but one of the high school teachers said he doesn’t feel it’s safe for anyone involved.

“The teacher side of me was like, ‘no,’” said Mustang High School teacher Mark Webb.

That was his reaction upon hearing the new plan to quarantine students who have been exposed to COVID-19 together in a section or classroom of the school.

“My son is a student at Mustang pubic schools and I would not put him in this situation,” Webb said. “Some other teachers I’ve talked to who are also parents also said no immediately, too.”

According to Mustang Schools, the kids in isolation would be tested frequently. If a student tests positive, they would be sent home immediately. The school sent home a letter to parents with the details.

The school district hasn’t made clear who would supervise the kids, but some educators are hearing the hope is that there will be volunteers.

“I know that we’ve had teachers that have been exposed and have actually had the virus, but still, I don’t feel comfortable asking them to go back into that environment,” said Webb.

Oklahoma Educator Association President Alicia Priest said some teachers or staff may not feel they have a choice.

“I don’t know any staff that if your supervisor comes to you and says hey I need you to do this, or would you do this, they’re going to be compelled to say yes,” Priest said. “You just don’t tell a supervisor no when they have the power of hiring and firing you the next year.”

School officials said this is a good chance to collect data on infection rates during quarantine, and then use that information to help inform decisions for the future in the pandemic.

Priest argued it’s unsafe and unfair to put staff, teachers, and students at risk as “guinea pigs.”

“If people are being forced into this room as an educator, either a teacher or a support professional, give us a call and we will have legal check it out,” Priest said.

Webb hopes the district will continue with the policies it already has in place, which include a mask requirement for most students, and an A/B schedule with the option for all virtual when cases numbers are spiking.

“Ninety-percent of the time I’m right there with them and understand what’s going on,” Webb said. “But in this situation, it’s not good.”

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