Cordell Public Schools Changes to Quarantine Policy
Dear Cordell Schools Families,
As we all work and struggle to get through the global pandemic that COVID -19 has caused, the Cordell Board of Education and I feel that it is time to reevaluate our Return to Learn Plan. After very careful consideration, we will be ending the required quarantine for those students who have had close contact exposure at school. We will recommend that students quarantine, but ultimately the decision to quarantine is up to the student/parent to determine what is best for them and their situation. This will take effect beginning Wednesday, September 15. If a student/parent does decide to quarantine, teachers will still provide instruction via distance learning. We will continue our contact tracing protocols so that we can notify parents when their child has been in close contact with another individual who has tested positive. This will help parents determine the best course of action to take with their student. If exposure is from a household family member where isolation isn’t possible the student will still need to quarantine.
Since the onset of COVID-19, quarantines have been a tool that we have used extensively and they are becoming problematic. Since the start of school we have quarantined 174 students in CPS, some students have been quarantined 2-3 times causing them to miss 10 or more days of school.
The CPS Board of Education and I believe that these quarantines have become as detrimental to our students as the virus itself. The loss of learning compounded by the social and emotional stress placed on these students is creating huge deficits for these students. Many of these return to school without completing any assigned school work and find themselves lacking motivation upon returning to school.
When we review the number of students that we quarantined last year, along with those from this year, we do not see that very many students who were quarantined actually came down with the virus after being exposed. Looking specifically at this year's numbers, we have quarantined 174 students and 47 students have tested positive. I believe that less than 10 of those 47 actually contracted the virus while at school.
This is no scientific study, however, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of students sent home on quarantines return to class having never contracted the virus they were quarantined for. We also know that many of those students struggled in the classroom along with a loss of social contacts and repeated periods of isolation. We must also consider the financial hardship that has been placed on many families due to missing work to take care of students who have been quarantined.
CPS has taken the approach from day one that we want to maintain in-person instruction. How we do this while keeping our students and staff safe has been a challenge. There is no one solution to this issue, and there is no one solution that everyone will agree upon. We understand that masks continue to be a divisive issue and we will continue to monitor the need for masks as well as monitor State Laws such as SB685.
In order to continue in-person learning we ask that Parents monitor their child’s health status each day. Do not send your child to school if they are exhibiting any COVID symptoms i.e., fever, sore throat, cough, diarrhea or vomiting, new loss of taste or smell. We will monitor students closely while they are at school and students will be sent home with ANY COVID type symptoms. If your child has been exposed we strongly recommend the use of a mask at school as you continue to monitor for potential symptoms.
We hope that our community does not see this as giving into this terrible situation. Rest assured, we are not. Looking at the big picture, we hope that this change in procedures keeps more of our students in school and learning. That is what we are all about!