OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As many Oklahoma children are now back in the classroom, districts are already having to make major changes as COVID-19 cases continue to climb, forcing some kids into quarantine.
“It’s not a decision we take lightly by any means but when the numbers get this high, it’s something we have to do to protect the students and the staff,” said Brian Keith, Carney Public Schools Superintendent.
The Carney Schools playground now sits empty just two weeks after school started.
“We started school August 5th and it was going smooth. Then on Monday, we had 35% of our elementary, junior high that were absent with either positive cases or they were close contact. We also had a large number of staff members that were positive or close contacts,” Keith said. “We had 59 kids absent in elementary on Monday.”
On Monday, Keith announcing the decision to transition to virtual learning.
But Carney isn’t the only district facing tough decisions.
In Oklahoma City, FD Moon Middle School’s entire 8th-grade class is in quarantine.
On Wednesday night, the district sending a message to 8th-grade families, saying in part, “On Wednesday, August 18th, OKCPS was notified that a teacher or instructional staff member who works with our 8th-grade students at FD Moon Middle School has tested positive for COVID-19.”
Not even 24 hours later, Hulbert Schools in Cherokee County announced a mask mandate, saying in part, “The safety of our school family is our greatest priority, and increasing cases of COVID-19 in our district made this difficult decision necessary.”
Gov. Stitt responding, saying in part, “It is disappointing that one school district has chosen to openly violate a state law that was supported by 80 percent of the Legislature… I will always stand up for parents’ right to decide what is best for their child.”
Meanwhile, the State Department of Health pleading with teachers and eligible students to get the shot.
“That’s gonna make more difference than anything else. Dramatically more difference,” said Col. Lance Frye, Commissioner of Health.
Oklahoma City Public Schools does have a mask mandate in place.
Carney Schools tell KFOR they do not, but some kids choose to wear a mask.