COVID Update from Dr. April Grace, Aug. 30, 2021
Aug. 30, 2021
Dear Shawnee Families,
As you know we have continued to work with local and county health officials to stay on top of the trends within our school buildings and the surrounding community related to COVID. We have received updated guidance from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, as well as the Oklahoma State and Pottawatomie County Health Departments that language changes have been made to their letters and guidance for schools around isolation and quarantines. Schools are expected to follow these policies.
Specifically, in their FAQs and guidance it states: "Keeping students at home when they are infected with COVID-19 (isolation) or have been exposed as a close contact (quarantine) is critical to controlling the transmission of COVID-19, especially since infected individuals are known to transmit the virus to others before they experience symptoms or when they are only experiencing mild symptoms. Schools and parents have a duty under state law (63 O.S. § 1-505) to keep students home when they are in isolation or quarantine. These students should remain away from school facilities and activities until their period of isolation or quarantine has ended."
Quarantining is essential to preventing the spread of this virus within our schools and will help us continue to keep school open. The health officials have stated quarantines are necessary, not just recommended.
Again, I want to remind you to keep our school community’s number of positive cases low, we ask that you consider the following: make sure you and your student(s) continue to follow CDC guidance by washing your hands frequently, keeping social distance of 3-6 feet when possible, considering vaccination, and wearing face coverings when you cannot social distance, especially indoors, as well as when in public places.
As a reminder, masks/face coverings are welcomed and are strongly encouraged in our buildings where social distancing of at least 3 feet is not feasible. We encourage you to make the best decision for your student and your own family, while monitoring health conditions daily. We encourage you to consider vaccination to help combat the spread within our community. Our best opportunity to keep school open, as well as extracurricular activities in place, is to follow these guidelines.
We will continue to work closely with our state, county, and local health officials to monitor the situation.
Dr. April Grace