Lawton Public Schools officials have confirmed one recent case of COVID-19 in an elementary school, one of 11 cases that have been reported in the district since classes resumed Aug. 24.
Officials say the confirmation also included notification of some students who would be placed in quarantine for 14 days because contact tracing indicated they had been in close proximity of the student (close proximity is defined as within 6 feet or less for more than 15 minutes at a time).
The confirmation of a student makes Crosby Park Elementary School one of eight schools in the district that have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the three-week period that the district has been back in session.
Superintendent Kevin Hime, in his weekly podcast made available on the LPS website on Friday, said the total number of positive cases reported since school began is “extremely low,” although parents and others in the community may think actual numbers are higher because they also are hearing about students who are being quarantined.
“Students and teachers have done a great job,” Hime said, noting personnel and students are maintaining social distancing protocols and using hand sanitizer on a regular basis, both activities that, along with wearing masks, will help control the spread of COVID-19, health care experts say.
According to the LP COVID Summary posted on the school website (lawtonps.org), the district has had 11 confirmed positive COVID-19 tests since Aug. 24. They include three employees (one each from Douglass Learning Center, Carriage Hills Elementary School and a non-certified staffer who does not work in a building); one has recovered, as of Tuesday. Nine students have been identified: two each from Eisenhower High School and MacArthur Middle School, and one each from MacArthur High School, Freedom Elementary School, Sullivan Village Elementary School and Crosby Park Elementary School.
LPS reports seven employees and 23 students have been quarantined by the Comanche County Health Department because they met the “close contact” definition. Of the employees, one has returned to work, and some were quarantined due to outside contacts not related to a school (the same is true of some quarantined students). Students who are quarantined will participate in virtual instruction until they return to school.
The district has not cancelled school at any of its facilities, Hime said in his podcast, explaining students who have been in direct contact with someone who tested positive will be contacted during trace testing. Those who hear about such students but are not contacted personally are not at risk, officials said.
“We’re trying to keep students and staff safe,” Hime said. “We’re not trying to hide anything from the public.”
LPS said while it will keep parents and the community updated on statistics, it cannot release specific details about students or staff members.
As of Friday, two employees and eight students remain isolated by the Comanche County Health Department due to a positive test.