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PCPS COVID-19 Update Letter For Oct. 4

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October 4, 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 September 21, 2020. 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

This week, we had 9 COVID-19 in-school positive cases and 187 close contacts. Even though the COVID-19 Alert System for Kay County increased from 27.9 to 32.5 in Orange Level 2 – Moderate Risk +, on October 1, our in-school positive cases decreased from 13 positive cases the week of 9.21.2020. Our school cases are still isolated and not widespread throughout a site. In-person instruction, for Option 1 Learners, will continue the week of October 5 through October 8. October 9 is a
previously scheduled Practice Distance Learning Day.

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 diligent with wearing face coverings and social distancing. Make it a priority to report to your site principals 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.

Oklahoma is number 3 in the nation with COVID-19 average daily new cases, per capita of 100,000. Oklahoma’s daily new case rate, with the above-mentioned criteria, is 201 and the national rate is 93. A COVID-19 School Superintendent Task Force met with the State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jared Taylor, on Friday, October 2 to discuss issues and concerns we all are facing. We want our students in school, but with these high new case rates, we are directed by Dr. Taylor and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to continue to rigidly follow CDC Guidelines for Schools regarding contact tracing close contacts. The only way we, as a state, can reduce the number of average new cases is to practice protocols vigilantly. Doing so requires strict precautions to be taken not only in school, but outside of school as well.

We have had 29 school days and 57 COVID-19 in-school positive cases, both active and recovered and that is with a district-wide mask mandate. Sixteen (16) close contacts have changed to positive cases after numbers were reported. We will continue to rigidly mitigate to prevent widespread positives at a site or throughout the district. We have completed 29 days of school: 14 days WITH NO POSITIVES, 15 days WITH POSITIVES.

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 extracurriculars 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