Wildcat families, our greatest priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community members. I cannot urge you enough to help us stop the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday and today, we completed contact tracing investigations around positive COVID-19 cases in our school and quarantined individuals. Do not send your child to school if anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19. If the Kay County Health Department or your healthcare provider has told you to quarantine your child, please follow these directives. If you suspect someone in your family or your child has COVID-19, keep them home until tests can be completed.
When we have a positive case in our school, our trained staff will complete a contact tracing investigation. If a student or staff member is in close contact with a positive case, we will quarantine all close contacts, without exception, for 14 days per CDC Guidelines. Close contacts are identified as those who were less than 6’ apart for more than 15 minutes from a positive case. 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. Persons in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from the health department.
If the school quarantines students or personnel, they will not be able to come to school, enter buildings, 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. Last Friday, our county was in the Low-risk Zone according to the Oklahoma COVID-19 Alert System. We are not on track to stay in this zone at the current time.
It is important to remain vigilant to stopping the spread of COVID-19 at all times. 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, contact your medical provider for advice immediately. Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Without fail, please make sure your cell phone numbers are updated in the Parent Portal. We realize phone numbers change, but during this pandemic, we are continually calling parents and we need to make contact quickly.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. We will continue to stay in constant communication with our families and patrons. I will provide an updated press release this weekend with the number of quarantines and sites affected.
Please feel free to contact Curtis Layton, Executive Director of Human Resources, or me with any questions @ 580-767-8000.
Superintendent, Ponca City Public Schools