Union Public Schools Closes 12 Classrooms Amid Uptick In COVID-19 Cases

Thursday, September 10th 2020, 2:59 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

TULSA, Okla. -

Union Public Schools has shut down 12 classrooms after an increase in COVID-19 cases within the district.

Nearly three weeks into the school year, Union Public Schools said there are 345 people across the district either isolated or quarantined because of positive COVID-19 cases. 

Out of about 9,600 students who are learning in person, the district said 21 have tested positive for COVID-19. Eleven staff members also have the virus. 

The spike in cases is prompting classrooms to shut down at Jarman, Darnaby, McAuliffe and Moore elementary schools, along with one class at the high school. 

Five of the 12 classrooms shut down are at Ellen Ochoa Elementary, where 111 students and seven staff members were quarantined yesterday. 

Union Public Schools declined to do an interview Thursday. 

In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler said, “We cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to physical distancing, wearing face coverings and handwashing. Parents, please do not send your child to school if they have a fever or other symptoms, or if anyone in your household has had a possible exposure to Covid-19 or is being tested. That’s the only way we can keep students and staff safe and continue with in-person learning.”  

The district is providing daily updates on its website so parents can keep up with cases in the district.  

In Jenks, more than 10,000 students went back to school Thursday for the first time in six months. 

The district is starting off the year with six positive cases and 28 in quarantine, according to its online dashboard, which is updated daily. 

"We want to be as transparent as possible and give parents and easy place where they can go and they can see, here's how many cases the district is dealing with at any given time,” Rob Loeber, a spokesperson for the district, said.  

Other districts are working to be transparent too. Broken Arrow is providing the number of cases in the zip codes within its school district. 

Starting next week, it will give weekly updates on the number of positive cases and recoveries for BA students and staff. The district said it will not provide the number of cases at each school site, like some other districts are doing.