Schools make COVID-19 changes

Mustang Public Schools’ Board of Education agreed last week to allow Superintendent Charles Bradley to speak with state and county health officials about the district’s COVID-19 plans.
In addition, the school approved some changes that will impact how the district operates during the current pandemic.
Those changes include allowing decision-making be based from MPS’ COVID-19 data; a more targeted approach of changes made to specific sites, and moving away from a three-week time frame when dealing with modifying the district’s schedule.
Bradley said each situation is different, so a flexible time frame is important.
Under the new plan, the decision of using a modified schedule would be made school by school.
The decision would be based on district data, which is compiled by a number of staff members.
“We’re intimate with information and cases, so we can make any type of course correction quickly,” said Bradley.
While there has been an upward trend since week one’s data, Bradley said there have not been many students who had close contact on campus that have tested positive. He attributed this to the district’s safety measures.
Week five’s data showed three students out of 1,339, who were quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 following close contact on campus.
He said 100 students returned to campus Oct. 3 after quarantining.
Bradley said there are new no updates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations.
Board President Chad Schroeder said a 14-day quarantine does not take into account that both individuals were wearing masks.
It also was suggested the district might consider altering the 14-day requirement.
“I think there would be a liability to the board and to the district if we chose to go away from guidance without the support of a health organization,” Bradley said.
He has been in contact with other Canadian County superintendents and plans to meet with Canadian County Health Department officials.
“We would have to go through (the CCHD) and really let them see what we’re talking about, and then let it progress up to the state,” Bradley said.
Board member Jeff Landrith said he’s unsure if MPS should be the leader in changing measures.
It may be better to get more schools on board with them, he said.
Board Vice President Todd Lovelace said he was OK with MPS being the only school changing procedures.
Bradley also said in-person classes are not the reason the district is seeing a spike in cases.
More cases are coming to the campuses, rather than people contracting cases on campuses, he said.
Athletic director Robert Foreman said there are 446 students participating in fall athletics. Of those, there are two positive cases.
As of Sept. 1, there were eight positive cases among student-athletes.
Eighty-one student-athletes have also been quarantined because of classroom close contacts.
“Our data doesn’t show that by hosting a Friday night football game, we’re seeing a wide-spread community outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases,” said Foreman.
He also said volleyball fans have been doing an exceptional job in wearing masks and social distancing, whereas football spectators are hit and miss, according to Landrith.
While the board cannot force fans to wear masks, they could reduce game capacity, Bradley said.
In terms of outside recess, students aren’t required to wear masks;, however, during the colder months with indoor recess, masks may be recommended.

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