Cherokee Nation Helps Students Stay In Class With Daily COVID-19 Testing


Thursday, December 10th 2020, 6:14 pm
By: Emory Bryan


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -

Sequoyah High School had in person classes today, as they've done for the last six weeks, without closing because of COVID-19.

The school staggers classes by grade, for one day each week, requires masks, and tests each student for the virus before they enter the building.

"We haven't had any disruption as far as the school day," said Interim Superintendent Corey Bunch. "We've been able to screen and catch anyone who might be positive and carry on business as usual for each school day."

The school has administered over 1,800 tests and found just 13 positives. That's how senior Adriana Marquez found out she had COVID-19.

"I came to school, thought I had a sinus infection, or an allergy deal, and was taking medicine for it. Found out I was positive at school. I would have never known I had it," said Marquez.

In classes, students sit at desks with plastic partitions between them, but before they go to class, they head to the gym for a temperature check, and self-administered rapid COVID-19 test.

Each student and staff member is tested before they're allowed in the main building.

"It makes you feel safer. It's mandatory of course, but I understand it," said senior Garrett Nugin.

The results come in 15 minutes, and students who test negative are given a wrist band that indicates their status. Students who test positive are sent home.

Superintendent Bunch believes all the work is worth getting students and teachers together, even if it's just for one day of classes for students.

"So, we just love having them back on campus at least one day a week and we're looking forward to the day a vaccine becomes available and we can have them back on campus every single day,” Bunch said.

Bunch said they have enough tests to continue for the rest of the school year, or until a vaccine comes.