OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This week’s COVID numbers in the state suggest cases have gone down, but now as students head back to school as early as next week, University of Oklahoma Health doctors are expecting a spike in COVID cases across Oklahoma, and they say it can come fast.  

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) are preparing for possible COVID outbreaks this school year.   

OKCPS are regulating similar protocols to how the previous school year ended.  

Masks are welcome and encouraged, plus schools still have enhanced cleaning protocols in place.  

“All of our buildings and every space in the building has an air ionization system that filters and cleans the air. And so that’s in classrooms, in community spaces, in cafeterias. So, everywhere within a school building and also in the office buildings,” said Courtney Scott, Executive Director of Communications at OKCPS.

But with a possible outbreak in the school, things may look different. 

“The pandemic has prepared us to be able to pivot very quickly into a virtual learning situation. And so, I definitely think that that would be utilized if needed… OKCPS has really been following the guidance of the CDC and the city county health Department, the Oklahoma City County Health Department,” said Scott.

OU Health Officials say the Omicron sub-variant is highly contagious and can spread quickly.

“This particular variant, the B.5, which dominates, it’s 86% of the cases that are now occurring in our part of the country… And the incubation time from the time you get exposed until you have symptoms is very long,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler at OU Health, University’s Chief Covid Office.

So, they are expecting the COVID surge to happen quickly once students return to classrooms. 

“The way people get infected is breathing it. So anything a school can do to increase air exchanges in their back system, fresh air opening, windows, anything like that actually will help,” said Dr. Bratzler. 

Dr. Bratzler suggests students and staff wear masks inside since it’s been proven COVID-19 is transmitted from breathing and not from surfaces. 

“Activities outdoors are generally going to be much safer than activities indoors. So when they’re when it’s feasible, when the weather allows for people to be outdoors, that reduces some of the risk of transmission,” said Dr. Bratzler. 

Oklahoma City Public Schools have several different plans in place if your student is stuck at home with COVID.  

They of course suggest your child to stay home if not feeling well and report it so they can keep track of where the cases are happening. 

“We have our virtual program that people can elect, but if a student is out with COVID, the teachers and the school administration can make those accommodations with families individually to make sure the student has access to learning, even if that’s just, you know, prerecorded lesson so that the student isn’t just sitting at home. And if obviously, if the student is unwell, we want them to rest and get well,” said Scott.

You can see a full list of Oklahoma City Public Schools COVID safety plan at okcps.org/covid-19

OU Health Officials, of course, also suggest to get your child vaccinated.