MPS data

McAlester Public Schools tracks COVID-19 cases among students and staff — reporting those coronavirus numbers on its website.

A school nurse said she believes coronavirus response is going well across McAlester Public Schools.

Ruth Rogers, the MPS district nurse, said protocols in place helped the district cut the 135 quarantined students and staff from last week to one-third of that total by Monday.

“I think it’s going well,” Rogers said of the district’s coronavirus response.

MPS tracks and reports COVID-19 data on its website (https://sites.google.com/mcalester.k12.ok.us/covid-19-information/mps-current-data).

As of Sept. 9, the district reported three employees and one student testing positive with COVID-19. That led to seven employees and 124 students being quarantined for a goal of 135.

That total dropped to 51 students and employees being quarantined as of Monday, according to the district’s data.

MPS data showed one student and one staff member testing positive for COVID-19 as of Monday. Five employees were also quarantined, as well as 44 students for a total of 51 out due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We’re down quite a bit and the majority of the 44 (students) are coming back this week,” Rogers told MPS Board of Education members during Monday’s meeting the district.

Rogers said the district had four contact tracing events since school started Aug. 25.

MPS outlines its contact tracing policy on its website (https://sites.google.com/mcalester.k12.ok.us/covid-19-information/home).

“If a student tests positive for an active case of COVID-19, parents must report that to the school so that isolation is ensured and for school-related contact tracing and disinfection procedures,” the policy states. “No personally identifying information is to be released about the student by a contact tracer in order to protect student and family privacy and encourage people to report positive tests.

“Whenever a district staff member tests positive for an active case of COVID-19, they must report that to their supervisor for the same reasons,” the policy continues.

Each MPS campus has at least one contact tracer that needs to find out from those who become infected: 1) the date the sample was taken that later tested positive for COVID-19; and 2) the date on which any COVID-19 signs or symptoms developed.

The information is used to determine the infectious period before the contact tracer asks other information to determine who was within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes, had direct physical contact, shared utensils, or other contact.

“We’ve looked at seating charts, we’ve looked at bus seating, and that’s been very helpful in gathering information,” Rogers said. “Kudos to the teachers that have developed those and helped us.”

MPS requires protective face coverings to be worn on campuses and implemented several precautions focused on preventing community spread of the virus in the district.

A person who tests positive must isolate at least 10 days after the positive test or the onset of the symptoms, the policy states. The person must then also be fever-free for 24 hours and show improvement of symptoms before being allowed to return.

People who live with a person under isolation must quarantine during that person’s isolation period, plus 14 additional days.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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