Communications & Public Affairs
Jan. 12, 2020

Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus

Dems Respond to Governor Ignoring CDC in Demand For In-person Learning

OKLAHOMA CITY — Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Education Group released the following statements in response to Governor Kevin Stitt’s comments today that seem to ignore CDC guidelines for returning to in-person learning.

“The state data shows kids under 15 were ten percent of all cases in the weeks before the holidays,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City. “After the holidays, when kids were out of school, the number dropped by 50 percent. Last week, kids under 15 just accounted for five percent of all cases. The state’s own data doesn’t support the Governor’s reckless plan. It’s time for him to stop blaming the unions for his failure to provide informed leadership.”

“The governor, who recently enacted COVID precautions to close bars after 11 p.m., is now advocating for a large-scale return to in-person school across the state,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “The only change instituted was suggesting that if mask mandates were in place, exposed children do not have to quarantine out of school. This didn’t work in Mustang Public Schools – why should we believe it would statewide? Oklahomans should understand that in the governor’s demand for schools to return to in-person learning, he offered no additional guidance or resources for Oklahoma public schools to do so safely.”

“I’m happy to hear the governor agrees that a mask mandate works for school populations,” said Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater. “I encourage him to issue a statewide mask mandate as our schools are part of our communities. Everyone — students, teachers, and staff — deserves a safe working environment.”

“While I applaud the effort of the governor to focus on how to keep students in school,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, “I’m concerned that teachers weren’t contacted about this policy change, and I’m further concerned that Superintendent Hofmeister wasn’t invited to the press conference. While we all agree that in-person learning is the best way for children to learn, this policy doesn’t go far enough to ensure the safety of teachers, students, and staff. I urge the governor to call for a mask mandate, which is proven to be the best way to mitigate the spread of this virus, inside and outside of our schools.”