As we embark into our first foray into having students in a mandatory quarantine, there are several questions that have been brought up. Hopefully this will help to clarify our current quarantine situation.
1) Do students have to quarantine or can they choose to come to school? Oakwood ISD will be following TEA and CDC guidance which states that if a student is deemed to have been in close contact with a lab confirmed positive individual, they will need to quarantine.
2) What is close contact? Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone who has been lab confirmed to have Covid-19 for more than 15 minutes without a mask on.
3) Can a student take a COVID test and come back sooner? No, according to the CDC, the virus may incubate in a person for 2-14 days and could possibly result in a negative test, even after a possible infection. Because of this incubation period, a student may not take a test and safely return to school, so they must remain quarantined.
4) I heard that a student was allowed to take a test and come back to school. Why was that allowed? The only time a test may be used to allow someone to return to school is if they were sick or symptomatic and were sent home. If the student takes a test and it shows a negative result, that the student does not have Covid-19, then they may return to school once they feel better. However, if that student is deemed to have been in close contact with a Covid-19 infected person, they would still need to quarantine for the 14 days from the last known close contact, even with a negative test result because of the incubation period of the virus.
5) How did you decide who to quarantine? The administration conducted a thorough review of anyone who may have come into close contact following the guidance from TEA and the CDC. Input was sought from the Covid-19 infected individual as well as looking at the teaching assignments, nature of the classroom teaching, classroom setup, and other factors that could impact close contact. Using that information, we have notified the students that fall within those parameters.
6) What if a student does not have internet access or a device? We have several wifi hotspots and devices available that can be checked out as needed. Please see Dr. Johnson if that is an issue.
7) What could we do differently to not allow this to happen? Covid-19 is obviously a very difficult thing to control. It is a global pandemic because of how easily it spreads. We have been very fortunate to be the very last school in our area to have a case, a testament to the efforts that the teachers, students, and our community have made thus far. Other schools have dealt with widespread outbursts, school closures, and ongoing cases. Unfortunately, now we are dealing with Covid at Oakwood. It is an ongoing battle with some tough months ahead as we head into winter. As we did at the start of the school year, GermBlast will be scheduled to come back out in the next few weeks to completely clean and disinfect our school again. The best thing we can do now is to adhere to the guidance that has been put forth from day 1: wear a mask, cough into your elbow, wash your hands thoroughly, and social distance as much as possible.
8) What do I do if my quarantined student is struggling? The students that are quarantined will miss 6 school days. Please reach out to their teachers or have the students email their teachers with any questions that you may have. We are also at the start of a new six weeks, so there will be ample opportunities during tutorials and on Flex Mondays to get caught up. If you need additional support, please contact our Curriculum Director, Jenni Scheppler at 903-545-2106 or our District Principal, Dr. Stephanie Johnson at 903-545-2140.