September 20, 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 14. 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 have had 8 COVID-19 positive cases in school. However, 4 of these positives were NOT in school during infectious period so no contact tracing was required. Two (2) of the 8 positives had minimal close contacts, but 2 of the 8 positives affected many close contacts, and one of these positives affected wide-spread close contacts.
It is our passionate goal to maintain in-person instruction as long as the health and safety of our students, staff, and community are not compromised. Multiple positives due to the spread at one site would result in a site closure. Multiple positives spreading throughout the district could results in a total, temporary closure, but that decision will require BOE Approval. We rigidly mitigate to prevent wide-spread positives at a site or throughout the district. Currently, the positive cases in our schools are isolated. In-person instruction, for Option 1 Learners, will continue the week of September 21-25.
We 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 wide-spread site positives. Keep in mind, there are a multitude of CDC Guidelines available, BUT the State Department of Education’s legal guidance directs schools to follow the CDC Guideline for Schools. Our best opportunity to keep school open, as well as extracurriculars in place, is to follow these guidelines with diligence.
The State Epidemiologist has directed schools to lessen the spread by providing health officials information pertaining to positive cases for activities. The guidance states any activity producing physical contact and exertion, or aerosol spread overrides the “less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more” CDC criteria for close contacts. This directive resulted in numerous close contacts this week. Many schools have had to cancel events; another school’s positive case resulted in a missed event for us this week. These guidelines apply to practices, performances, or competitions.
The district was also provided new algorithms for bus close contacts from our local and state health departments, which resulted in many close contact quarantines this week. Based on this new information, we are going to change our mitigation strategies for buses. If it all possible, it would be prudent to transport your child to school to avoid possible quarantine.
We have completed 19 days of school: 10 days NO POSITIVES,
9 days POSITIVES.
I also want to inform you we have had some weekend school positives confirmed for the first time this weekend. Those positive school cases will be added to Monday’s count.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time. Our greatest priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community members. We 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.
Ponca City Public Schools