Grove Schools asking community to follow guidelines after students contract COVID-19
13 students and five teachers currently in quarantine.
GROVE, Okla. – For Grove senior Kadian Forbis, playing football is more than just a pastime. He wants to play in college, so he knows how important it is to have a good final high school season.
“We were supposed to have our first scrimmage today to start off our session off. And when that got canceled, we really just didn’t know what to do or how to react,” explains Forbis.
On Wednesday, Grove Public Schools learned that there were students in the district who had tested positive for COVID-19, potentially impacting several schools in the district. So just five days into the year, they decided to temporarily shift to virtual learning, originally until the end of August, in case they couldn’t identify who had been exposed.
“It’s all around us, we’re taking precautions, doing the best we can, and we feel like it’s a moving target,” says Grove Superintendent Pat Dodson.
Dodson explains that after they identified what students had tested positive, principals spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning going through security footage and seating charts to determine who all had been exposed. They determined that 13 students had been, and asked each of them to quarantine for 10 days. Everyone else will be going back to in-person classes on August 24th.
“So this is gonna be an ongoing thing. It was a good practice run for us. Yes, probably next time we’ll just close a day, assess where we are,” says Dodson. “We’re just trying to do what we can do at school because we don’t have no control over what the kids are doing outside of our school. So I’ve asked our community to help out, or else we’re gonna be in and out of school quite often.”
Parents in the district have shown appreciation for officials’ quick work and transparency, and are glad that students will get to go back.
“This is such a crazy and unknowing time, but we fully support our school administrators and believe they have nothing but our kids’ best interest in mind,” says Charity Tiller, Kadian Forbis’ mom.
“In my opinion, they prepared us for the worst-case scenario and then exceeded our expectations when they were able to resolve the issue so quickly. I’m thankful that our administrators prioritize the safety of our students, teachers, family, and community as a whole and support them in the decision they made. I know it was extremely difficult and obviously unpopular,” adds parent Ashley Bateman.
But not knowing what could happen is making some students nervous about the rest of the year.
“I understand why they did it, but like at the same time, it is our senior year,” says Layne Ruthford, a senior at Grove High School. “It worries me. I’m sure it worries a lot of people. Hopefully we can just get through it.”
“Us as seniors on the football team, we’ve already talked to the players, like, we’re enforcing everybody to be wearing masks cause we want the season just as bad as anybody else does,” says Forbis. “Hopefully it’ll all play itself out.”
Dodson adds that the district wasn’t involved in testing any of the students.
There are also five teachers who are under a ten-day quarantine.