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Ponca City Public Schools to Begin Implementing New CDC Guidelines


The CDC released new guidelines on Wednesday, December 3, changing the quarantine guidelines for close contacts. These guidelines were adopted by the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, Colonel Lance Fry, effective immediately.

The previous quarantine requirement for close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case was a 14-day quarantine.  Based on the new guidance, a close contact can end quarantine 7 days after exposure if they test negative for COVID-19 and have had no symptoms. The test can be a PCR or rapid test and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.

Without a test, a close contact can end quarantine after 10 days and monitor symptoms for 4 more days, equating to the original guidance of 14 days of quarantine.

The new guidance further states when a shortened quarantine is in place, the following also should be in place through 14 days after exposure:

  • Daily symptom monitoring
  • Mitigation strategies, including correctly and consistently wearing a face covering and social distancing

The 10-day isolation period for positive COVID-19 cases will not change.

However, if a household member tests positive and cannot isolate, the family members who cannot isolate will start the new close contact quarantine after the 10-day isolation has passed for the positive case. Same household close contact quarantines will decrease from 24 days to 20 days, or 17 days if the close contacts test negative for COVID-19 and have had no symptoms.

CDC officials said a 14-day quarantine is still the safest option. The agency has stated most become infectious and experience symptoms within five days of exposure, but some of those who are exposed do not develop symptoms until up to two weeks after exposure.

Ponca City Public Schools will follow the new close contact guidelines effective immediately and retroactive changes will be made for current school close contacts. Superintendent Shelley Arrott, had the following comment, “These new guidelines will certainly help us keep students and staff close contacts from missing as many school days for exposure when we return to in-person learning.”

 “The Oklahoma State Department of Health and The Oklahoma State Department of Education issued a joint letter to school leaders to ensure there is no misunderstanding or known disregard of requirements relating to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.  PCPS follows directives made by these government agencies to protect the health of our students, staff, and community. I do believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and we need to rally together as a community and state to slow the spread of COVID-19 for the well-being of everyone.”

Please follow the 3Ws:  Wear the Face Covering, Watch Your Distance, and Wash Your Hands