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AM NewsBrief: Aug. 11, 2022

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022.

How Oklahoma schools are advised to deal with the coronavirus

It’s back to school season. Here’s what COVID protocols look like for students.

It’s year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, so precautions in schools look familiar.

Oklahoma state law says mask mandates aren’t allowed, so don’t expect any of those. But, State Department of Health guidance continues to call on people to stay home if they’re sick and wash their hands often.

A couple of major changes come from alterations in CDC guidance that no longer suggest schools implement social distancing policies or implement contact tracing strategies, unless they’re responding to a specific outbreak.

Lawmaker suggests incentives to draw and keep teachers in Oklahoma

An Oklahoma lawmaker is suggesting an idea to help with the state's ongoing teacher shortage.

Republican Rep. Mark McBride is proposing the state offer teacher relocation and retention bonuses.

The money would come from federal pandemic relief funds available to the public education system.

McBride proposes that the State Department of Education and local districts collaborate to offer $4,000 relocation bonuses for teachers who move to Oklahoma and $5,000 retention bonuses for teachers who stay in the state.

According to McBride, Oklahoma has received more than $ 2 billion in federal pandemic relief through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. He says about $1.3 billion remains unallocated.

OU head coach talks Gundy

The OU football program is facing crisis with the resignation of longtime assistant coach Cale Gundy after he admitted to uttering racist language during a meeting with players.

Head coach Brent Venables addressed the issue at his mid-week press conference on Wednesday.

Whether Cale Gundy used the racist language without realizing it, as he has claimed, or multiple times, as Venables has said since, Gundy is no longer a member of the OU coaching staff. And Venables wants to move on.

"Ya'll probably have some questions about Cale's resignation, and I just want to say up front all that needs to be said has been said."

Venables’ focus remained on the team and preparing for the upcoming season, but he acknowledged - football wise - losing Gundy is a blow.

"I'll be honest. This issue aside, you know, an Oklahoma program with Cale Gundy is stronger than one without him."

Venables also expressed his confidence in now interim assistant coach L’Damian Washington, who takes over for Gundy for the time being

OU testing wastewater for monkeypox

The University of Oklahoma has started testing wastewater to detect monkeypox.

OU Health officials say the university is working with the state health department to monitor wastewater for monkeypox, but data is not yet available.

The same wastewater surveillance techniques used in the early detection of COVID-19 are being adapted for monitoring monkeypox.

So far, 11 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the state. According to the CDC, nearly 9,500 cases have been identified nationwide.

Governor signs bill designating state horse

Oklahoma now has a state horse.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3281 on the Capitol lawn Wednesday that designates the American Quarter Horse as the official state horse.

According to the American Horse Council, the quarter horse is the most common breed in the state.

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