Mixed emotions as Mustang High School inches closer to in-school quarantine pilot program

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MUSTANG, Okla. (KFOR) – The Superintendent of Mustang Public Schools and state leaders revealed Wednesday afternoon more details regarding how the state’s first ‘in-school quarantine’ program will work.

The Mustang School Board voted to approve a voluntary pilot program where high school students who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are not showing any symptoms will have the option to quarantine at school in a supervised virtual setting.

“What is the rate of transmission?” Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said. “No one has that information. That is what we are trying to find.”

However, Mustang mother Emily Piland tells KFOR she disagrees.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Emily Piland said. “You don’t play guinea pig with kids.”

MPS officials say they are confident they have a safe way to bring kids back into the classroom.

Students who have been exposed and choose to opt-in to the in-school quarantine will have a secluded entrance and exit, daily rapid testing, marked off rooms and everyone inside must wear a mask.

The high school can hold up to 20 in-house quarantine students.

“The other part is staffing,” Mustang Superintendent Charles Bradley said. “We are working on that right now to identify an adult who would supervise the setting.”

Right now, Canadian County sits in the red zone, according to the State Department of Education. All Mustang students are at home, learning online.

If the county flips to orange by the end of the week, the district says it will begin the in-school quarantining process and bring back students to an A/B schedule on Monday, Dec. 7.

“It’s clear in-person learning is best and safest for all of Oklahoma’s children,” First Lady Sarah Stitt said.

“I am all for anything to get students back in the classroom,” Mustang parent Lisa McLean said. “I have a high-schooler who is failing four classes, and he is usually an all-A student.”

However, Piland says she’s not planning on sending her kids back no matter what.

“I think they are making a mistake,” she said.

Mustang High School is set to announce late Thursday whether the county’s COVID-19 case count is safe for students to return to in-person learning.

If the in-school quarantine begins Monday, it will continue through the rest of the year to December 23.

Dr. Frye also announced he must wait for the data from the pilot program to see if this policy could continue into the next semester. He does confirm other Oklahoma school districts are interested in following Mustang’s lead.

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