Okla. Gov. Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

Stitt said at a news conference the new policy will help keep schools open safely.

“Moving forward, schools that enforce the use of masks will not have to quarantine potential exposures unless they are showing symptoms,” Stitt said. “This is what’s best for our students. Period. End of story.”

Oklahoma’s Commissioner of Health Lance Frye said the state has seen “very little” spread of the virus in school settings.

Frye detailed the new guidance, which does not apply if exposure occurs during after school activities, such as sports, and it does not apply to people who actually test positive. Those people should isolate at home, he said.

“Students and teachers exposed to someone who test positive for COVID-19 at school will no longer be required to quarantine as long as the exposure happened in a classroom setting, everyone was wearing a mask and following other appropriate protocols such as social distancing,” Frye said. “Schools should continue to require quarantines for exposed students in situations where masking and distancing protocols were not followed.

Frye said they're working to get teachers 65 and older vaccinated as soon as this week, and they will start vaccinating other teachers as soon as vaccine supply is available. Frye said they will be doubling the tests they provide for schools to increase frequent testing, and they are also working on increasing supply of masks and PPE made available to schools.

Secretary of Education Ryan Walters said schools have been asking for this change in policy because they have been quarantining hundreds of students who were exposed in the classroom, but they haven't seen significant virus spread.

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