Bixby Public Schools ends contact tracing for COVID-19 cases among students

BIXBY, Okla. — On Friday, Bixby Public Schools’ superintendent Robert Miller released a letter to parents about changes in COVID-19 protocols. The district will move away from contact tracing students that have tested positive for COVID-19 and shift their focus to providing daily updates on active case numbers.

Miller stated that part of the decision to end contact tracing was due to it being “extremely time consuming for already overstretched nurses and administration ... and may not be very useful for parents receiving these notices.”

Now, Bixby Public Schools has created a COVID-19 Data Dashboard that tracks active COVID-19 case numbers amongst students and staff at every school in the district.

Despite this, Miller told FOX23 that their pre-K sites will still send exposure alerts for students to their parents.

The website will be updated every day at 4 p.m. The last update came on Friday.

Miller addressed other options around combating COVID-19 in Bixby schools. According to his statement, only 20% of students wear masks in Bixby schools, so he felt that this was not a popular solution amongst students and their parents.

Additionally, Miller explained he was unwilling to consider quarantining at this point.

“The conversation around student quarantines is one we need to have,” he told FOX23. “It’s not acceptable to me to continue a practice which punishes otherwise healthy children with two weeks away from school. Their only offense? Possibly being exposed to another child with [COVID-19].”

Speaking directly to parents, Miller posted in the Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education Facebook page.

“What is missing here is a conversation about the academic, social, and emotional toll that continued quarantines will have on thousands of otherwise healthy Oklahoma students,” he wrote.

Miller explained that he felt that students, faculty and parents are going to have to learn to live with COVID-19, since it isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Politicians told us it would go away. Lots of people were wrong. So, with as much civility and grace as we can extend to each other, we need to engage in thoughtful conversations about what it means to “coexist” with COVID, particularly in schools filled with our most precious resource - our children,” he explained in his post.