Welch Schools opt to follow different covid guidelines than suggested by Gov. Stitt

Joplin Area Coronavirus

WELCH, Ok. — A local school is responding to new quarantine suggestions made by the Oklahoma Governor. We were able to talk to the Welch Schools Superintendent and found out what his response was to the statement.

Nick Highsmith, Superintendent, said, “The governor made a statement with his state epidemiologist and the state secretary of education and it was just a statement and stating that schools were requiring masks to be worn by students that could negate quarantines for exposure to positive individuals for student and staff members.”

The guidance and guidelines around the governor’s statement are yet to be released.

“Not a whole lot of information outside of that mostly we have are guidelines taken from the Q&A from that statement and as we piece that together it’s a lot more complex than it sounds on face value. They have to have a mask on, it’s exposure at school. If a student or staff member is exposed outside of school they still have to quarantine so the exposure would have to happen at school.”

Stitt’s suggestions were made without the consultation of the Oklahoma State Department of Education or State Superintendent Hofmeister.

“So there’s a lot of more around it then what people were probably reading on social media, and what came out afterwards were from the state superintendent of schools was that I don’t believe she was consulted on it, she came out and made a statement that we still need to be following the CDC guidelines on exposure for quarantining students.”

Despite the suggestions from the Governor, Highsmith doesn’t plan to make any changes in his district.

“but I think as a school Superintendent my first number one priority is the safety of my student and staff and I feel like the best way to ensure their safety is to continue to follow the science from the CDC that says these individuals that are exposed need to follow the quarantine.”

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