Arrott reviews COVID-19 information at board meeting

January 14, 2021 | Featured|Headlines

PONCA CITY — Ponca City Public School Superintendent Shelley Arrott updated board members Monday on the changing COVID-19 situation including the status of vaccinations for PCPS employees.

“We are beyond the 50 mark at the risk level and I’m telling you it is not going to go down until there is a mass vaccination for people because we have tried to bend the curve,” said Arrott.

“We can beg. We can plead but until everybody quarantines, follows protocols, wear masks it is not going to happen.’

Arrott said the school district does their own contract tracing and as of the time of the meeting there were 10 cases that were possibly traced back to a school activity.

“We had an elementary school that had two classes go into quarantine. The kids are really good friends, play soccer together without a mask and they go to each others houses so a lot of it is coming from outside the school. We are really strict with our mitigation to make sure it doesn’t spread. We can keep it from spreading but we can’t keep it out.’

Arrott said there were 60 cases reported to the district during the Christmas break. She said she is concerned about the non-identified quarantine pending results.  “This means that we have people we are testing that we will not allow to come back to school or work until we get a result.” As of Monday, four staff members were pending and 38 students. “I will tell you we do get a lot of negatives from testing.”

Arrott said the health department is going to hold a pod to vaccinate PCPS employees.

“We are not going to require that but we could. I do not think there is a superintendent in the state that is going to push that with out a lot of research.”

Arrott said she believes the district will need at least 500 doses. “We are going to be ready,” she said.

Arrott said PCPS is encouraging employees to register on the COVID-19 vaccine portal.

“We have employees that qualify for the vaccine now. I talked to Amy at the health department and it is almost impossible to get one of those appointments. Often times at the end of a pod they will have extra doses of vaccine and they have to do something with it immediately because they have to keep it cold and there may be some left. So she told me that she would put our 65 and older people on a priority stand by list. So they are going to have to be able to drop and run an go get the vaccine. But we have still told them to register on the portal.”

Arrott also recommended a modification to Distance Learning Timeframe for the second semester, if necessary.  If determined there is not enough staff available to safely and effectively operate a campus or if a significant number of students and staff are affected by isolations and quarantines, administration would transition the site to Distance Learning for a period of 10 calendar days to correlate with new quarantine guidelines. 

Previously, it was a 14-calendar day quarantine. If it is deemed necessary to transition the entire district to Distance Learning, a Special Board Meeting would be called. 

Arrott is also recommending an extension of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act – Employee Leave through March 12. The mandated leave portion of the FFCRA expired on Dec. 31 for public entities. 

The recommendation is to continue offering leave as detailed in the FFCRA through March 12 with the following modifications. 

1. Emergency Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Leave may be denied by the Superintendent or Designee. 

2. Emergency Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Leave must be approved by the Superintendent or Designee. 

3. Emergency Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Leave may be denied if approving the leave puts hardship on the district. 

Arrott also recommend continuing suspension of all junior high activities but continue with varsity and Jr. varsity activities. 

To watch the entire meeting click here

Heather Cannon Honda - Celebrate our 17th Anniversary with us
Latest Headlines
Legal Headlines
Story Comments

Story comments are disabled for launch. Feel free to visit our Facebook page or Twitter profile to interact with other readers.