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First-year teacher Rachel Smithley welcomes her kindergarten class at Coolidge Elementary School on the first day of school of the 2021-22 school year. 

ENID, Okla. — District officials say Enid Public Schools board members will decide on Monday whether to halve the time students and staff should isolate if positive for COVID-19, partially in accordance with recently revised federal guidelines.

District CFO Sam Robinson said Friday that EPS’ seven-member board of education will vote to update the district’s COVID-19 policy at Monday’s meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. in the EPS administrative services center, at 500 S. Independence.

The proposed policy update would primarily follow new guidance from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, itself going off COVID guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that were amended in late-December to much criticism.

The CDC on Tuesday again updated its guidance — adding a testing component to its isolation time — and on Thursday recommended K-12 schools follow much of the same protocols for positive-case isolations and close-contact quarantines.

Under OSDH’s recommendations, a positive isolation period would be reduced from 10 to five days — either after symptoms are improving and fever has been resolved for 24 hours without medication or if symptoms never developed.

Once a positive patient has met the above criteria, they can resume normal activities but should wear a well-fitting mask for an additional five days when around other people.

Robinson said EPS is not planning to recommend limiting extracurricular participation, which was part of the CDC’s recommendations Thursday. Robinson said this wasn’t advised by OSDH or the state’s Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA).

Nor is the district intending to follow CDC’s recommendations to screen-test staff on a weekly basis, he said, as this has not been suggested by OSDH or the state Department of Education.

“We recommend for individuals who are unable to wear a mask to isolate for 10 days or be exempt from the situations that prevent mask wearing (e.g., sports, choir, band, etc.),” OSDH’s isolation guidance reads.

If a person tests positive for COVID, they should isolate regardless of vaccination status, according to OSDH.

If a person is possibly exposed to COVID and is boosted and vaccinated should wear a mask for 10 days from possible exposure date, then test on day five. Those who are not boosted or vaccinated against the virus should stay home for five days, then wear a mask for the next five.

EPS currently does not require quarantines, but follows OSDH guidelines on positive cases, which are self-reported to the district. Masks and vaccines are not required in Enid schools, under state law.

Twenty students — nine at Enid High School — and seven staff members are in isolation after testing positive for COVID, as of Friday, according to the district.

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Ewald is copy editor and city/education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Send an email to aewald@enidnews.com.

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