Stuart Public Schools canceled enrollment for the rest of the week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, school officials announced Thursday.
Superintendent Tracy Blasengame said the employee helped with physicals on Monday and enrollment on Tuesday at the school before notifying the school Thursday of receiving a positive COVID-19 test result.
"This person was not in direct contact with any students," Blasengame said.
"Of course most everybody had masks and maintained social distancing when that person was in the school building, but it's just precaution," Blasengame said. "We're trying to get school started and we want everybody be safe."
Stuart is in Hughes County, which the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Thursday reported 124 total positive COVID-19 cases, one death, and 83 total recoveries.
The K-12 school is scheduled to start the academic year on Aug. 17 — but Blasengame said he would ask the school board during Thursday night's meeting under new business to approve delaying the start of the year to Aug. 20.
"That would give a full two weeks-plus for that particular staff member to make sure that any family members or anybody else would be infected," Blasengame said.
Blasengame said the district canceled enrollment for the rest of the week, notified people who were in close contact with the employee, and sent an email to all teachers regarding precautions.
Oklahoma State Board of Education members voted in July to change a set of COVID-19 protocols for schools to follow for the upcoming year to recommendations — leaving school districts to decide whether they would enforce more restrictive policies.
Blasengame said he will also discuss distance learning plans and other COVID-19 precautions with Stuart school board members during the Thursday night meeting.
"We have purchased masks for every student, every staff member — face shields for staff members so that those smaller children can see their mouths move while teaching," Blasengame said.
The following is a full statement posted on the school's website and social media:
"Stuart public schools had an employee test positive for covid-19 today. This employee was at physicals Monday and at Enrollment Tuesday evening. We are canceling enrollment for this evening and tomorrow, as well as all athletic events for the remainder of this week, with next week's activities to be determined at a later time. The possibility of students being infected was very minimal as they did not spend enough time nor were they in close contact with the person. We are simply letting everyone know and taking precautions to make sure we keep our school family safe and healthy. It is in everyone's best interest to take temperature checks daily and monitor yourselves and your children for any other symptoms."
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