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Avant School on virtual status until Oct. 26

Hominy High School reports four positive tests

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Avant Public School Superintendent Mindy Jo Englett announced online Monday, Oct. 12, that it will be Oct. 26 before in-person classes can resume.

Avant Public School said Oct. 1 that it would move to virtual learning status because of concerns about student health, and on Oct. 5 released word that a teacher had tested positive for COVID-19.

"If your child is in 6th-8th grade in person please assume they have been exposed and quarantine for 14 days. Please monitor for symptoms and contact the Osage County Health Department for free testing," the school said in an Oct. 1 Facebook page post regarding the faculty member's positive test.

Englett told the Journal-Capital last Thursday, Oct. 8, that the school's plan was to have virtual learning days from Oct. 12-14 and then take Fall Break. Classes were not anticipated to resume until Oct. 20, following a teacher professional day on Monday, Oct. 19.

Avant Public School serves children from prekindergarten through 8th grade. It is a small school, with just five classrooms, Englett said. Her online announcement Monday, Oct. 12, was as follows:

"Unfortunately, another teacher has contracted COVID-19. While no students were exposed, 4 other adults in the building were exposed and are now quarantined until October 23. Because of this, we will be virtual until Monday, October 26. Our virtual days will be Monday-Wednesday this week (Oct. 12-14) and Tuesday-Friday next week (Oct. 20-23)."

HOMINY POSTPONES BALL GAMES

Another Osage County school system making adjustments in order to cope with the effects of COVID-19 transmission is Hominy Public Schools.

Superintendent Doyle Edwards announced online to the community on Oct. 8 that four high school students and the high school principal had tested positive for COVID-19. Edwards said 57 students and three staff members were in quarantine. He clarified for the community that being in quarantine was not a confirmation of illness -- it was, instead, an acknowledgement that someone had been physically close enough to a person with COVID-19 that transmission was possible.

Hominy also reworked its varsity football schedule. An altered schedule posted online indicates that Hominy High School still plans to play all 10 of its games, but there was no game last Friday and there is none scheduled this week. The varsity team isn't scheduled to play again until Oct. 23.

Edwards said Hominy Public Schools has more than 500 students, and just four have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. The school district requires the wearing of masks, and disinfects buildings, he said.

WYNONA AND BARNSDALL PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION

"We're knocking on wood," an upbeat but vigilant Superintendent Shelly Shulanberger said Oct. 8 regarding Wynona Public Schools. Wynona, which has 103 students and 21 staff members began classes this academic year on Aug. 3, earlier than other districts around it.

Through last Thursday morning, Wynona had not been notified of any positive COVID-19 tests among its students and staff members so far, Shulanberger said. The school notified families in the community it will be closed this entire week (Oct. 12-16) for Fall Break.

In Barnsdall, Superintendent Jeff Lay acknowledged the district has had to deal with positive tests, but he said those confirmed positive tests had not forced any school closures.

"So far, the few positive cases we've had among our students and staff have been handled without us being forced to close," Lay said. "We're taking it day by day and responding to each positive report we receive with the guidance of the Osage County Health Department."

Lay's most-recent public announcement of positive COVID-19 tests was Sept. 28, when he said in a message to the community that two students at Barnsdall Elementary School had tested positive. Prior to that, in a Sept. 22 message, he said a staff member had tested positive.