Smaller School Districts Seek Transparency Through COVID-19 Reporting

Tuesday, September 15th 2020, 9:41 pm
By: Amy Avery

BRISTOW, Okla. -

Many school districts across northeastern Oklahoma post their own COVID-19 case counts on their websites to keep community members in the loop about positive cases. 

Some larger school districts like Union and Tulsa Public Schools started posting their numbers a few weeks ago, but now many rural districts are joining in too.

Many districts said they want to be as transparent as possible with families and even though the case counts aren't as high for rural districts, the impact can be even greater.

"It's not anyone’s fault that you become a case with this virus. There's people that catch this anywhere and everywhere," said Bristow Public Schools Superintendent Curtis Shelton.

Shelton said they just rolled out their COVID-19 Case Tracker on Friday. He said the district wanted to share these numbers to keep community members informed.

“This community is invested in our school district and they want to know this information and we are glad to share it with them," Shelton said.   

Right now, the district has four positive student cases, 59 students in quarantine and zero positive staff cases.

Shelton said they don't have a lot of substitute teachers right now and it's especially important to protect cafeteria workers. 

"It’s huge for them to stay healthy and protect each other because if you have to shut one feeding site down, we'd probably have to shut that entire building down for 14 days,” said Shelton.

Shelton said school nurses are working closely with the Creek County Health Department if a positive case is identified.

He said Sapulpa was the first school district in the county to post their numbers and now many other districts there are doing the same.

“As superintendents especially in Creek County, we’ve all reached out to each other and shared information just like Sapulpa is sharing this tool with us,” said Shelton.

For small communities like Bristow, district leaders said it's vital for those quarantining to stay home so they can stop the virus from spreading even further.

"We really respectfully ask that if they are in quarantine or isolated that they do stay at home, they don't come to school, don't come to activities until their quarantine or isolation time is over,” said Shelton.

Bristow's active case count tracker is available on their website under the “Parents” tab.