DPS Unable to Provide In-School Quarantine
Duncan Public Schools Unable to Provide In-School Quarantine
Dear DPS Students, Staff, and Parents,
During Thanksgiving Break, the Oklahoma State Department of Health released information regarding an “in-school” quarantine option for schools. Like many of you, I was initially excited about the lessening of quarantine disruption, but DPS cannot provide in-school quarantining under the OSDH pilot policy. Below are the key issues preventing DPS from implementing in-school quarantining.
- Timing: The in-school quarantine option is only available until Christmas as a pilot program. School districts had no opportunity to prepare for the program, testing, training, etc. DPS would not be able to implement this responsibly in such a short time.
- Testing: Currently the rapid tests are not reliably available in the quantities DPS would require. Furthermore, children would be tested 8 times over a 14-day period at school, which is excessively invasive for children (especially small children).
- Training: DPS staff do not currently qualify for OSDH staffing requirements regarding “appropriately trained personnel” or waivers needed to participate.
- Safety: DPS cannot reasonably assure the safety of students or staff under these current guidelines (quarantined or non-quarantined). Unfortunately, under this program, quarantined students/staff may actually experience extended quarantines under these conditions due to current OSDH tracing guidelines. We have concerns for non-quarantined staff as well.
Current quarantining guidelines for schools have been a significant burden for many DPS families, but this OSDH policy creates more challenges than relief for DPS schools. In summary, this option is not a viable option for DPS under current guidelines, but I do hope that the OSDH continues to review and adapt its practices to reduce the disruption of unnecessary quarantines on Oklahoma families. We will continue to review this as an option as OSDH policies evolve.