Several school districts across the state have altered their school instruction this year due to COVID, while Guthrie Public Schools is one of the few metro schools districts that have remained opened continuously from the start of school. However, the district has not been able to avoid positive cases, which has resulted in nearly 400 students and staff member having to go into quarantine.
With the latest information reporting up to October 10, the school district reports 23 students have contracted the virus along with five staff members.
The breakdown of positive cases includes 16 at the high school, four at the junior high, two at Charter Oak Elementary and one each at Central and Cotteral elementary schools.
21 of the 23 students and all five staff members have recovered, according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson, who gave his report at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.
“The highest number (of cases) is at the high school. That stands to reason, we have the largest enrollment and also the most mobility with students,” Simpson said.
Simpson credited GHS Principal Chris LeGrande and GJHS Todd Bramwell of moving students throughout their buildings to create a safe environment to reduce spread.
With the confirmed COVID cases comes contact tracing, which has led to 353 students and 24 staff members having to quarantine.
In total, 196 students, including 129 at the high school, and 13 staff members have completed their quarantines due to the school related exposures.
Currently, the district has 69 students and 13 staff members in quarantine due to school related exposures.
Exposures outside of the schools, includes four staff members and 52 students currently in quarantine.
A quarantine requires 14 days removed from school, which has also hampered portions of the high school softball, football and cross country teams.
“I’ve said from the start and I maintain this, we’re flying by the seat of our pants like everyone else is and what I have determined is I don’t believe student infection will close us. I believe quarantine numbers of staff will close us.”
The school district began requiring students, teachers, staff and visitors on Sept. 28 to wear a face covering while inside a building or school vehicle. Related article: Guthrie Public Schools to begin requiring face masks
Simpson added the district is “desperately” short on substitution teachers and asked the public if they wanted to help they could contact Asst. Supt. Doug Ogle at 405-282-8900.
“The bottom line to it is we are having school. Our kids are learning. It’s not perfect. It’s not going to be perfect, but I’m very proud of the work our staff has done,” Simpson said in his closing remark.
As of Tuesday morning, the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows 129 active COVID cases in Logan County, including 83 in Guthrie (73044 zip code).