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More area schools move to distance learning, county sets daily active case record

Michael D. Smith

Two more Carter County school systems will begin distance learning on Tuesday as local data mirrors the statewide trend of rapidly increasing COVID-19 numbers. Fox Public Schools and Zaneis Public Schools each announced the moves on Monday, one week before scheduled holiday breaks for Thanksgiving.

The move to distance learning at Zaneis schools comes as the number of absences grows, according to Superintendent Ryan Cole in Monday’s statement. “This shutdown is going to differ from the one we experienced this past spring. All students will be required to participate, whether that be online learning platforms or paper packets,” Cole said.

At Fox schools, the transition was made as a precaution considering the growing number of local cases. 

“As of today, Fox Public Schools does not have any positive cases of COVID-19. Parents, you have done a great job of monitoring your children but unfortunately, we cannot prevent what is happening within our county and area right now with positive cases on the rise,” said Superintendent Brent Phelps in a Monday statement.

Both schools will continue to provide meals this week to students who need them. While both school systems said distance learning will continue through Nov. 30, both also have scheduled breaks next week for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Carter County has recorded 1,251 confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic, including 162 new cases in the last seven days, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The 337 cases recorded in Carter County this month alone account for 27% of all cases, and over half of the county’s cases — about 54% — have been recorded since Oct. 1.

The 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Carter County fell to 23.1 Monday, according to state data compiled by The Ardmorite, but has remained above 20 since Nov. 7.

The surge in COVID-19 cases has also led to a sharp increase in active COVID-19 cases, with 268 recorded in Carter County and 29,157 statewide, according to OSDH data on Monday compiled by The Ardmoreite. Carter County has recorded 13 deaths linked to the disease, with three of them recorded this month.

At least 268 cases of COVID-19 in Carter County were not recorded as recovered or deceased. The number of presumably active cases has steadily climbed since early September.

Every public school system in Carter County has now seen distance learning incorporated due to the pandemic, with schools in Ardmore, Plainview and Healdton most recently impacted.