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Pawhuska High, Junior High go virtual this week

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska Public Schools announced that classes would be virtual for the week of Nov. 16-20 at Pawhuska High School and Pawhuska Junior High. Both elementary schools remained in operation.

The school system made the following statement on its website: "We were notified of a student testing positive for Covid-19. Due to this and other possible exposures, the junior high and high school will be virtual November 16th-20th. Both elementary schools will continue to operate on a normal schedule. We will keep you updated if anything changes."

This follows Friday, Nov. 13 having been a virtual school day for the high school and the junior high, as well. The school system announced, shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, on Facebook, that it had learned of a faculty member who had tested positive for COVID-19.

"We will work with the health department to perform contact tracing to verify what students need to be in quarantine. Based on this possible exposure, both the middle school and high school will go virtual tomorrow, Friday, November 13th. Both elementary schools will remain open for normal operations," the school system said. It followed up, however, with an announcement that no students would need to be quarantined.

"None of our students at the middle and high school will be quarantined because of a staff member testing positive. Students were not within 6 feet of the teacher during the class periods in question. We will still be virtual on Friday at those sites to make sure we sanitize all areas," the school system said in a followup announcement at 12;59 p.m. Nov. 12.

Superintendent David Cash said Monday that the Health Department was conducting contact tracing in regard to the high school student who was diagnosed as positive for COVID-19.

"Honestly, I think the protocols and everything we've been following have helped," Cash said, noting that Pawhuska Public Schools had an elementary school student test positive for COVID-19 a number of weeks ago, and now a high school student has tested positive, but there have not to date been outbreaks of clusters of students testing positive.

"Everybody has been very flexible and understanding," he said. Cash said the school district was still planning to hold a playoff football game Friday evening. The Huskies were looking forward to playing host to Hominy.

The spread of COVID-19 in the Pawhuska area continues, with 54 active cases in the community as of Monday, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health figures. There had been a total of 181 positive tests from Pawhuska as of that date, and 127 infected persons had recovered. Two COVID-19 patients from Pawhuska had died.

Countywide, 18 persons had died from COVID-19 as of Monday, Nov. 16. The statewide death toll was 1,538.