In The Know: State orders some travelers to self-quarantine; Dept. of Corrections facing virus-related challenges; and more

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Note: Due to the volume of news items published during the pandemic, OK Policy has expanded its In The Know newsletter to publish on the weekend throughout the COVID-19 health crisis. Click here to see news from Saturday or Sunday.

Oklahoma News

Stitt orders travelers from six states to self-quarantine for 14 days: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Sunday amended his COVID-19 order, requiring travelers from six states to self-quarantine for 14 days. The amendment also requires delivery personnel to submit to screenings upon request before entering hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and daycares. [Tulsa World] Travelers who fly from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Washington state and Louisiana must self-quarantine for 14 days if they head to Oklahoma. [AP News] The amendment also prevents health care workers and their families from discrimination in housing or childcare. [Tulsa World]

Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Death toll at 16: The reported death toll in Oklahoma grew by one Sunday from the day before, but more are expected in the days ahead. Eleven of the Oklahomans who died were 65 or older. [The Oklahoman] Latest numbers on the coronavirus in Oklahoma: 429 confirmed cases, 16 deaths [The Oklahoman] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: Oklahoma COVID-19 pandemic to peak around April 17. [KFOR]

Department of Corrections officials say mitigating COVID-19 virus spread within state facilities presents new challenges: Running a correctional system during the COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges for Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow. The agency on March 17 quit taking offenders from county jails into the state prison system, with some exceptions, he said. [Tulsa World] A coalition of Oklahoma groups, including OK Policy, have proposed 10 steps for lawmakers and officials to address the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails

COVID-19 spread, #oklaed, testing, orders and stimulus: As the COVID-19 novel coronavirus continues its spread across the United States, adjustments to daily life have become the new norm, and the storylines worth following are now changing more often than your underwear: at least once a day. [NonDoc]

State Government News

Senate caucus calls on statewide shelter-in-place policy: The state Senate Democratic caucus Sunday called on Oklahoma’s governor to implement a more clear and consistent statewide policy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Absent such action, the state’s hospital bed capacity will be exceeded and overwhelmed before the coronavirus has been contained, Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, wrote in a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt. [Norman Transcript]

Lawmakers unsure when they will return to Capitol, finish session: Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat said he’s not sure when legislators will return to vote on the budget and legislative priorities and conclude the legislative session. But lawmakers are working from home to patch the current year’s state budget, which almost certainly will include a revenue shortfall, and build a budget for next year, said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Social service agencies respond to COVID-19 pandemic: As more people lose jobs and face hardships due to the spread of COVID-19, social service agencies are changing the way they do business. The Department of Human Services is letting customers sign up and renew benefits online, said Justin Brown, DHS director and secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives. [Tulsa World]

Redistricting, recreational marijuana petitions unlikely to make ballot, organizers say: Call it unintended consequences. But organizers of two initiative petitions say COVID-19 and the ensuing fallout of the outbreak will likely make it impossible to qualify petitions for statewide ballot this year. [The Oklahoman]

Arnold Hamilton: Legislature should focus only on the budget: What should lawmakers do? Now is the time to laser-focus on one objective: crafting and approving next year’s budget. Period. That would require them to punt – for now – on some important legislation. [Arnold Hamilton Op-Ed / Journal Record]

Tulsa World editorial: Postpone April 7 special elections for schools, muncipalities: The health risk of holding an election is much more important than voting on school board members, city councilors and local bonds in a timely fashion. A delay of a few weeks or months is not going to jeopardize democracy. Elections and terms of office are statutory and there is no provision for the State Election Board or county election boards to postpone or reschedule them. [Opinion / Tulsa World

Education News

Digital surveys start process for home learning at local schools: The State Department of Education decided March 25 to close all public schools for the remainder of the term, while requiring districts to submit plans to implement distance learning. These plans are to go into effect April 6, but no traditional, in-person instruction or extracurricular activities will resume. The school year will end May 8. [Tahlequah Daily Press] The department pledged to provide a variety of resources and guidance for school districts across the state, which have differing levels of digital connectivity, State Superintendent Hofmeister said. [Lawton Constitution] OK Policy has noted that education is a civil rights issues, and state officials should be exploring all options that provide equitable education solutions to all Oklahoma students, regardless of the resources that they have available.

College students adjust to online classes amid pandemic: Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities around the nation have moved classes online and have even cancelled spring graduations. However, while the adjustment may have been stressful to students and faculty, some have decided to look at the silver linings. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma City Public Schools serves tens of thousands of meals while schools closed due to coronavirus pandemic: Oklahoma City Public Schools provided more than 82,000 meals to students over the past week while schools have been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. [KFOR] OK Policy: Providing food security for Oklahoma students who might otherwise go without meals.

Health News

Mental Health Association Oklahoma offering free virtual support groups during COVID-19: Mental Health Association Oklahoma is offering free virtual support groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support groups will be held for a variety of issues, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. [KTUL]

General News

Report: Global demand for oil may drop 20%: In its latest oil market report, the International Energy Agency projected 2020 to have the first full-year decline in global oil demand in more than a decade. The IEA reported global oil demand could drop by as much as 20% during COVID lockdown. [Journal Record]

Evictions, foreclosures will be delayed; affected residents should seek legal aid: The office of Cherokee County District Court Clerk Lesa Rousey-Daniels said evictions are on hold, with dockets being postponed until March 30. Landlords or property owners can still file the paperwork with the court clerk’s office, but a tenant cannot be evicted or locked out unless ordered by a judge. [Tahlequah Daily Press] OK Policy: Evictions currently are suspended in most Oklahoma counties.

How tribes and other partners in southeast Oklahoma are preparing for the next big drought: Southeastern Oklahoma averages at least 40 inches of rain per year, so its agricultural industry focuses primarily on livestock and timber. But an extended drought in 2011 and 2012 cost Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers more than $2 billion in losses statewide. [KOSU]

Deadline to change party affiliation is March 31: Oklahomans who want to change their party affiliation before the Primary or Runoff Primary Elections later this year must do so no later than Tuesday, March 31st, according to Melissa Stambaugh, Secretary of the Lincoln County Election Board. [The Shawnee News-Star]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Rogers County added to list of confirmed COVID cases [Claremore Daily Progress]
  • OSU student tests positive for COVID-19 [KOSU]
  • Fort Sill confirms third positive coronavirus case [FOX25]
  • 2 Tulsa bar owners cited for violating mayor’s COVID-19 order [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We understand that adopting a statewide shelter-in-place policy will place a tremendous strain on our state’s businesses and workers, however, combating the COVID-19 pandemic emergency calls for extraordinary efforts and sacrifice.”

-Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, in a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt [Norman Transcript]

Number of the Day


The number of Oklahoma’s 77 counties with no intensive care unit (ICU) beds. Two of these counties, Creek and Logan, have more than 10,000 residents age 60 and above.

[Source: Kaiser Health News]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Coronavirus and poverty: A mother skips meals so her children can eat: The power of the coronavirus to produce upheaval in people’s lives depends in part on income. Americans with fewer financial resources have fewer options as they navigate the new normal of school closings, shuttered businesses and shelter-in-place orders. Poverty experts said that in times of natural disasters and large-scale emergencies, low-income families who are already living on tight budgets with overdue bills, unstable housing, poor health care and unsteady employment often bear the brunt of the pain. [New York Times]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.