COVID

A decision by Gov. Kevin Stitt to drop his COVID-19 related Executive Order has the City of Lawton and some other local governmental entities reviewing their policies.

Although Stitt had dropped some provisions in March and has consistently declined to implement a state-wide mask mandate, the City of Lawton, Comanche County, Lawton Public Schools and Cameron University are all among entities that have some variation of protocols in place for their facilities because of COVID-19.

Stitt announced that effective today, he was rescinding the order he initially signed into place in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began ramping up, and has extended multiple times since then. Stitt, explaining his decision in a YouTube video, cited the fact Oklahoma's seven-day average of new cases is down 94 percent from its peak and is among the lowest per capita rates in the country, while hospitalization rates are down 90 percent and are stable.

Lawton's City Council decided in late March to drop its mandates for masks and sanitation protocols for indoor commercial facilities and other indoor sites accessible to the public, and began opening city facilities to the public. However, administrative procedures has kept the mask mandate for people using City of Lawton indoor facilities and city staff interacting with the public. City administrators were to meet Tuesday afternoon to review those policies.

Cameron University has kept its mask mandate and social distancing requirements in place for most students and staff, and that will continue, said Keith Mitchell, senior director of public affairs.

"Governor Stitt's action to rescind the state of emergency declaration will have no immediate effect on Cameron University, including the upcoming Commencement events on Friday and Saturday," Mitchell said, in a statement, adding Cameron administrators will revisit the university's operational status after the Spring 2021 semester ends this month.

Lawton Public Schools President Patty Neuwirth said in March that Lawton Public Schools would keep its mask mandates through high school graduations for the 2020-2021 school year, before looking at the issue again for the new school year.

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