State agency seeks COVID data on at-home learners

January 18, 2021

Ray Carter

State data on COVID-19 infections among K-12 students will reportedly include cases that occurred among children who never attended school in-person and conducted their learning entirely online this year.

In a recent email sent to students’ families, Epic Charter Schools informed parents, “The State Department of Education has amended its previous policy for COVID-19 reporting to now include requiring schools to report COVID exposures and infections of students who learn virtually. This means that any EPIC student with close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who has themselves tested positive, will be asked to report this to EPIC so we may report it to the state.”

The Oklahoma State Department of Health already maintains a public record of all Oklahoma youth ages five to 17 who have contracted COVID-19. As of data posted on Jan. 18, the share of COVID-positive cases among that age group represented 10.6 percent of all recorded cases in Oklahoma.

A spokesperson for Epic said the policy change was provided orally during a recent training conducted by the Oklahoma State Department of Education on COVID reporting.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education did not respond to a request seeking comment on why the agency has imposed the reporting requirement for virtual students.