Broken Arrow Public Schools announce 33 staff members test positive for COVID-19

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — KRMG - Broken Arrow School Board members and district leaders met on Monday, and during the meeting it was announced 33 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

This comes as Broken Arrow announced they would push back the start of school to Thursday, September 3rd.

BA Superintendent Dr. Janet Vinson says 33 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week, leading to 98 COVID-19 related absences the district will need to fill before the start of school.

None of the names of staff who tested positive were released.

Broken Arrow Public Schools Human Resources department offered voluntary COVID screening for employees through a partnership with Total Wellness last week. The timing allowed any employee who tested positive to isolate and get healthy before school starts. Any employee who did test positive has to supply a negative test dating no earlier than a 10-day window from a positive diagnosis in order to return to work. All cases of positive from the testing (33 total) are considered active cases.”

—  Broken Arrow Public Schools

Dr. Vinson has repeatedly said the district was in need of substitute teachers and they’ve temporarily raised pay to try to attract some, but there will be even more trouble trying to attract teachers and staff going forward.

Despite this, Dr. Vinson still believes BA schools should not switch to a staggered schedule.

“We’re trying to be very cognizant and do things right so that we can have a safe start, and also a successful start, where we won’t be stopping and starting, and stopping and starting,” said Dr. Vinson. “Because that’s awful to do to families. You can’t plan around that.”

Dr. Vinson also said the district needs more personal protective gear for employees and students. She says the district has been waiting on shipments from Governor Kevin Stitt but still hasn’t received word when the PPE will arrive.

Vinson says there is good news since there was a large number of students enrolling in the virtual academy, there will be fewer students inside the building once school starts.

“Because we have such a significant enrollment in virtual [academy], our Broken Arrow High School numbers are down. So, with all of those students going to virtual [academy], we’re going to be able to space out kids some more. And that’s a positive thing. That, combined with masks, I think we’re going to be able to do this well. I applaud the families for making the decision that’s best for them.”