The educational detour from in-person classes to virtual learning was blessedly brief Monday for all but second graders at Purcell Elementary School.
The district announced on social media late Sunday that the school would be closed until October 26 due to “COVID-related issues.”
But by Monday afternoon, superintendent Dr. Sheli McAdoo, after conferring with the McClain County Health Department, was able to report youngsters in pre-kindergarten through first grade would be back in class starting Wednesday.
The decision to close the school and implement distance learning for the students wasn’t an easy one, nor one taken lightly.
“I understand the burden it places on parents and I am truly sorry for the inconvenience,” McAdoo said in a prepared statement.
As of last report, there were 35 active COVID-19 cases in Purcell. Included among the dozen new cases for the city were three elementary school staff and students.
Still, McAdoo explained it is the mandatory quarantines for family and friends of those diagnosed with COVID-19 that present more of a problem for schools than the low number of positive cases themselves.
The decision to partially reopen the elementary school was possible because of contact tracing conducted by the health department, the superintendent said.
In addition, the upcoming 4-day fall break weekend will lessen the impact of the hiatus on in-person learning for second graders.
The intermediate school, junior high and high schools are not affected, school officials reported.
McAdoo urged parents to continue to monitor their children’s health at home with the self-assessment checklist.
“Do not send them to school if they do not feel well, have fever, have lost their sense of smell or taste, are coughing, have a headache or sore throat,” she said. “These are all recognized symptoms of COVID-19.
“Safety is our number one priority for students and staff. Thank you for your cooperation and support as we navigate through the pandemic.”
There are many options for free testing in the area. For more information on testing, call the McClain County Health Department at 527-6541.
McAdoo said the school will continue to provide breakfast and lunch for all second graders while their classes are closed.
Those meals may be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Elementary principal Cindy Stone echoed Dr. McAdoo’s remarks.
“This is not fun but we knew it was possible,” Mrs. Stone said. “But the good thing is we have a plan and will continue to provide meals.
“We are working diligently to make sure the kids have everything they need,” she concluded.
For more information, email McAdoo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 405-442-0099, Ext. 105. To reach elementary principal Cindy Stone, call 405-442-0099, Ext 205 or email her at email@example.com.