Business was back to normal Monday with Grove Public Schools following a successful contact tracing effort following an outbreak of COVID-19 last week.
Four teachers at Grove High School and several students tested positive for coronavirus, according to superintendent Pat Dodson.
After a student at the Upper Elementary and his family tested positive, “we tried to do contact tracing the past few days, but we had a video camera in the cafeteria that wasn’t working, so we couldn’t really clearly identify whom he had been around,” Dodson said.
Because students had removed their masks to eat, a decision was made to shelter in place one classroom until tracing could be completed.
“By the end of the day, we weren’t able to eliminate everybody from contact or identify and have them quarantined, so my plan then was to put the Upper Elementary into quarantine and just do our distance learning with them,” Dodson said.
Plans were to move the UE teacher’s aides to the high school because of a teacher shortage there
“Then at 3 o’clock I got a call that a high school student had tested positive,” Dodson said. “We were up against the wall and had to make a call: we couldn’t do contact tracing in such short notice,” so he issued a 10-day quarantine.
“I called the 10-day quarantine, but we needed time,” he said. “Our principals actually went to work right then and worked all through the night, combing through video from the past few days and checking seating charts from classrooms. We had that all in place — it was part of our (emergency) plan.”
Dodson said the students who were in close contact were identified and were asked to quarantine for 10 days as well as the siblings of the positive kids and their families
He said with that phase successful, the decision was to bring back students Monday.
“If we weren’t confident that we could complete the contact tracing, we would stay out for 10 days,” Dodson said. “It’s a burden on the families. We are going to do what we can to keep them in school. That is our goal.”
Extracurricular activities resumed Saturday.
Oklahoma health officials will begin releasing the coronavirus reports that Gov. Kevin Stitt receives from a White House task force, according to Stitt.
"We have asked the Oklahoma State Department of Health to begin making the reports publicly available each week by posting them to the coronavirus.health.ok.gov dashboard," Stitt told The Oklahoman.
The health department on Saturday reported an increase of 853 confirmed coronavirus case and 10 additional deaths, bringing the totals to 52,599 reported cases and 725 deaths. The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
There are 7,839 active cases of the virus and 44,035 people have recovered, according to the department.
In Delaware County, there have been 506 positive cases, with 207 of those in Grove.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
— The Associated Press contributed information to this report.