More than 45 districts have closed classes in person because of COVID-19 cases affecting more than 40,000 students.
According to the Texas Education Agency, at least 45 small school districts across Texas will temporarily stop offering classes in person due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the first few weeks of the new school year.
Caseloads have left districts scrambling when many have said they have fewer tools at their disposal to combat the spread of the virus. They also have had to come up with strategies that can differ from district to district. Administrators are tasked with protecting students and staff members’ health, providing quality education, and staying open enough days to avoid tacking on extra days at the end of the school year.
Tim Savoy, a spokesman for the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, said, “By far this is worse in terms of planning than last year. There’s no question about it.”
Frank Ward, an agency spokesperson, said, “The list of public school closures in Texas is also incomplete, according to TEA. The agency is tracking closures informally based on media and district reports since districts are not required to report closures to TEA.”
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, this is the biggest one-week increase in the entire pandemic period. According to their data, since August 23-29, there were 27,353 new positive COVID-19 cases among students in Texas public schools. The state also reported 51,904 cases among students and 13,026 among staff since the school year began. That’s about 1% of the 5.3 million students enrolled in the state as of January.
As of September 2, just weeks into the new school year, at least 45 school districts in Texas have entirely shut down, affecting about 42,000 students.