Oklahoma City (August 21, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), has developed a plan as directed by Governor Kevin Stitt in Executive Order 2020-20 (Third Amended) that will provide for the optional monthly COVID-19 testing of Oklahoma teachers and support employees.
“Testing plays a key role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” said interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye, M.D. “The Health Department has placed a top priority in helping schools navigate through these uncertain times to protect our children, our teachers and communities.”
This plan provides all teachers and support staff free COVID-19 testing in their areas with help from public-private testing partners. Tests will be processed through Oklahoma Public Health Lab Network (PHLN) and other state contracted labs to ensure results will be provided in a timely manner.
“No matter the circumstances, learning cannot happen unless all parties – families, school personnel and students – are in a safe environment. This voluntary COVID-19 testing program is an important component of a layered approach to in-person instruction that will help mitigate risk of coronavirus exposure to everyone in the school community,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.
The strategy to best serve Oklahoma teachers and support staff will be delivered to Governor Stitt for approval today, with additional details to follow next week. As COVID-19 research evolves and technology continues to advance, further modifications will be made with additional stakeholders to strengthen community mitigation actions and prevent the spread of the virus.
OSDH highly encourages Oklahomans to seek COVID-19 testing. Due to sufficient COVID-19 testing supplies and lab capacity, Oklahomans no longer need to exhibit symptoms or to have been exposed to someone who tested positive. Regional COVID-19 testing sites are open in multiple cities in Oklahoma as a result of a cross-county, city and state health system partnership, and Oklahomans can find a free testing location in their community by visiting: https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/testing-sites.