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PCPS COVID-19 update for Sunday, Oct. 11

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October 11, 2020 

Dear PCPS Parents, Staff, and Community Members: 

Below you will find the weekly update informing our public of the COVID-19 positive cases and quarantined, close contact totals for PCPS occurring the week of October 5. However, you may refer to the PCPS Contact Tracing Totals Spreadsheet each evening for daily updates. The link to the spreadsheet is at the top of the homepage on our district website: www.pcps.us

We had some positive news this week! We only had 1 COVID-19 in-school positive case and 93 close contacts, as compared to 9 positives and 187 close contacts last week. The one positive case affected several close contacts due to two activity involvements. On October 8, the COVID-19 Alert System for Kay County DECREASED from 32.5 in Orange Level 2 – Moderate Risk + to 22.6 Orange Level 1 – Moderate Risk, on October 8. We have had a good week this week, and our rates in school certainly correlate with the COVID-19 Alert Systems for Kay County. We can tell when risk levels go up or down! We need Kay County to stay vigilant to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Please do your part so our county continues with this positive trend.  

In-person instruction, for Option 1 Learners, will continue the week of October 12-October 15. October 16 and October 19 are two previously scheduled Fall Break Days.  

We have many students returning to school on October 12, who had previously been under quarantine. In addition, Garfield Elementary returns to school on Monday, October 12. Garfield had previously been closed for two weeks due to many staff members being in quarantine. We cannot wait to see our students who have been out for 2 weeks! 

With Fall Break approaching Friday, October 16 and Monday, October 19, I would like to remind everyone to be cautious and practice social distancing and masking while in crowded areas. Exactly two weeks after Labor Day we had 6 straight rough days with many positive cases affecting a large number of close contacts. Just like you, I so hate it when our students are quarantined or in isolation. Please remain vigilant over the break to social distance and wear face coverings while in large crowds. We are working diligently to keep school-wide spread at bay so we can continue with in-person instruction. However, we need your help with this daunting task. Remain committed to wearing face coverings and social distancing. Make it a priority to report to your 

site principal if someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19. If your child has been directed by the KCHD to quarantine, uphold that order and do not send your child to school.  

We have completed a total of 34 school days. During these 34 days we have had 61 COVID-19 in-school positive cases, both active and recovered, and that is with a district-wide mask mandate. Seventeen (17) of these positives were close contacts who changed to positive cases after being quarantined. We will continue to rigidly mitigate to prevent widespread positives at a site or throughout the district. Of the 34 completed school days, we have had: 18 days WITH NO POSITIVE CASES and 16 days WITH POSITIVE CASES. 

PCPS will continue to strictly mitigate as directed by the legal guidance of the State Department of Education and Oklahoma Department of Health to follow CDC Guidelines for Schools to avoid widespread site positives. The State Epidemiologist and Oklahoma State Department of Health have made it clear they will intervene if schools do not react to positive cases as advised. Our best opportunity to keep school open, as well as extra-curricular activities in place, is to follow these guidelines with diligence. 

The PCPS Administration and Board of Education are committed to maintaining in-person instruction as long as it is safe to do so. Please help us keep schools open and activities in place by following protocols  recommended by health officials such as wearing masks, washing hands, socially distancing and quarantining,  whether in school or out of school. These protocols will help increase the probability that we will be able to  continue school and extra-curricular activities. Thank you for your cooperation and for your support of the  students of Ponca City Public Schools. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this global pandemic. Our greatest priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community members. I will continue to stay in constant communication with our families and patrons. 

Please feel free to contact Curtis Layton, Executive Director of Human Resources, or me with any questions at 580-767-8000. 

Sincerely, 

Shelley Arrott 

Superintendent, Ponca City Public Schools

 

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR COVID-19 AND PCPS: 

Students/Staff affected are participating in Distance Learning remotely. Teachers will keep students and parents informed of Distance Learning details. However, students and staff under quarantine cannot attend school or school events throughout the duration of the quarantine.  

State law empowers the state Health Department with the exclusive authority to issue an isolation or quarantine order. Health officials will determine the length of an isolation or quarantine period. School districts are obligated by law to respect and cooperate with the orders of health officials. When we have a positive case in our school, our trained staff will complete a contact tracing investigation and will report the investigative data to the Kay County Department of Health. If a student or staff member is in close contact with a positive case, all close contacts will be quarantined, without exception, for 14 days. Close contacts are identified as those who were less than 6’ apart for more than 15 minutes from a positive case or who were in physical contact with the positive case. Per CDC Guidelines, students who live in the same household as a positive case and cannot isolate from the positive, the 14 day quarantine will begin after the 10 day infections period of the positive case, for a total of 24 days. Quarantine prevents the spread of the disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. Face coverings greatly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, which further reduces the spread. However, the face coverings are not an exemption from quarantine as directed by updated CDC Guidelines.  

If students or personnel are quarantined, they will not be able to come to school, enter buildings, attend school events, or participate in school activities for the full 14 days, no exceptions. We want our students to be in school and to participate in activities, but it will take ALL of us to stop the spread.  We want to avoid a temporary total school closure, with all students learning virtually. PLEASE DO NOT SEND STUDENTS TO SCHOOL IF SOMEONE IN THE HOUSEHOLD HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A POSITIVE CASE OF COVID-19.  

Remain vigilant to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends the following best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid close contact with those who are sick. 

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve. 

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. 

Practice social distancing, leaving at least six feet between you and other people. Wear a cloth mask or face covering when social distancing is not possible.  

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you or any member of your family exhibit these symptoms, you are encouraged to contact your medical provider for advice immediately. Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. 

Important Reminder: Make sure your phone numbers are accurate in the Parent Portal. During this time of frequent contact, it is imperative numbers are updated so we can communicate with you quickly.