MANNSVILLE, Okla. (KTEN) — A COVID-19 outbreak has forced the shutdown of Mannsville Public School.

"Due to an increasingly high number of positive COVID tests for both students and staff, we are forced to close for this week to allow time for everyone to get better and not continue to spread the virus," said Superintendent Brandi Price-Kelty in a Facebook post to parents.

She said virtual learning days will compensate for the missed class time after Labor Day. Classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, August 22.

The school serves about 100 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade; about 20 percent of them were out with coronavirus symptoms as of last Thursday, and that number continued to increase.

"We are a small staff, but half of my staff members tested positive over the weekend," Price-Kelty told KTEN. "With so many staff members out this week, it was going to be hard to even cover."

Price-Kelty told KTEN that about 20 percent of Mannsville students and 50 percent of the staff tested positive for the virus.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health had expected a slight increase in COVID cases after school started.

"When kids go back to school — even before COVID — we had to worry about all kinds of illnesses going," said OSDH regional director Chris Munn. "For schools,  we are going to recommend they really review their sick policy and have a robust sick policy — not just for COVID, but flu and other illnesses."

The superintendent said her district may be seeing a rise in coronavirus cases because Mannsville started classes during the first week in August, earlier than other districts.

"I just think the kids being back in close proximity is what led us to have this impact quicker than other school districts," Price-Kelty said.

The superintendent apologized for the inconvenience, but said her prime concern is the health of students and staff members.

Mannsville is located in Johnston County between Ardmore and Tishomingo.


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