CYRIL — Few Cyril Public Schools students are wearing masks, but that’s not unexpected, Superintendent Jamie Mitchell said.
“The patrons I hear from certainly are not pro mask-wearing,” he said. “Certainly, it’s optional and we highly encourage mask wearing without stepping on anyone’s toes.”
In addition, the district offers masks at different places in the schools and body temperatures are checked daily as students and staff enter the buildings. Temperature checks are a precautionary measure to help determine if anyone might have the COVID-19 virus.
Mask usage could become more acceptable for many students after Oklahoma County District Judge Natalie Mai on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction on Senate Bill 658, which prevents public schools from issuing mask mandates. The measure was passed by the Oklahoma Legislature and signed by Governor Kevin Stitt earlier this year.
Prior to the judge’s ruling, Mitchell said Cyril schools “definitely try to follow the Oklahoma health department’s guidelines as much as we can.” After the ruling, Mitchell said the district will continue to make mask wearing optional. Mask mandates list specific exceptions, which prompted Mitchell to say that most people in the Cyril district would opt out for one reason or another.
Additional COVID-19 exposure cases have occurred this school term, which began last month. Four students were sent home last week after exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
“We try to send home notes to parents so they can know a child in their child’s class has been sent home,” Mitchell said. “We’ve had a handful of other kids we’ve sent home, but the numbers haven’t been that large. We had one child diagnosed with COVID prior to school starting.”
The low COVID-19 number might be attributed, in part, to Cyril’s four-day school week, which began in 2016.
“The kids want to be in school and their parents want them in school,” the superintendent said. “We try to contact trace properly and make sure we don’t have a sick kid in the building who has been exposed to someone (with COVID-19).”
Two teachers have been sent home after being exposed to COVID-19 and one coach was diagnosed with the virus but is recovering at home, Mitchell said.