As the number of staff and students reporting to school has increased this month, so have the number of COVID-19 cases across the county and state. From Aug. 1-14 Hopkins County had 60 new positive COVID-19 cases, increasing the overall 5-month total to 212 cases among Hopkins County residents. Many wonder if the return to schools will impact the spread of the virus. In Hopkins County, at least 3 local school districts have received confirmation this week of at least one staff or student receiving a positive COVID-19 test result this.
Cumby ISD at the beginning of the week canceled athletic practices and activities until Aug. 24 due to reports of symptoms among players at practice. Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Shelly Slaughter reported the school had received notification one Cumby ISD student who was on campus on Aug. 7 has received a lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 result. Notification about the positive test was posted on the district website and sent to CISD families.
The district nurse has been working with the Local Health Authority nurse to identify and notify any individuals who may have been at high risk of contact and to conduct contact tracing, according to the superintendent.
The student is and, as appropriate, any others at CISD who are reported to have potentially been exposed are to self quarantine until all criteria for returning to school outlined in the CISD Return to Learn Plan has been met.
As of Friday afternoon, Slaughter said she is unaware of any additional positive cases among CISD staff and students.
Even with the health and safety protocols in place, CISD students and staff were excited at the return of students to campus Thursday. Everyone worked together to provide extra help when needed to ensure all safety measures are being followed. Aside from a few reminders to wear masks and social distance, the first two days were a good start to the school year at CISD, according to Slaughter.
While only those age 10 and older are required to wear face masks to school, some parents have opted to have their younger students bring and wear masks as well. Slaughter encourages parents to remind students to social distance and wear their masks as required by the state.
Everyone entering a CISD building will continue to be screened prior to entry. As the procedure becomes a part of the daily routine, entry screening process is taking less time. Parents have been understanding to abide by guidelines regarding campus visitors as well.
Slaughter encourages parents to remind their students to continue practicing social distancing and wearing face masks or coverings for ages 10 and up when they are not able to social distance as recommended by the CDC to help reduce potential for the spread of illness.
Sulphur Springs ISD
Sulphur Springs ISD Assistant Superintendent Josh Williams Friday, Aug. 14, confirmed five district staff have tested positive for coronavirus since March. One staff member was on campus before finding out the individual had it this week.
SSISD implemented the COVID-10 mitigation plan protocols upon notification, including cleaning areas where the infected staff member was at. SSISD is also working closely with the LHA to track, trace and appropriately respond to the situation per recommended guidelines and school policy.
For four of the five individuals who have been exposed to or had COVID-19, the virus is “in the their rear view mirror.”
Williams said SSISD administrators were unaware Friday afternoon, Aug. 14, of any students who have or who have had the novel coronavirus 2019. However, with so many students away from school since spring break in March, it’s possible some have had the virus, and the school was not notified since school was not in session.
SSISD staff and students will follow the 10-page COVID-19 mitigation plan accessible from the main page of the district website (www.ssisd.net). The plan outlines procedures if someone is exposed to, tests positive for or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, as well as the procedures for notification and criteria which must be met in order to be allowed to return to school.
Williams said all recommended and potential steps are being taken to minimize potential spread of COVID-19 at SSISD schools, including frequent sanitizing, cleaning, hand-washing, masks and social distancing. The district’s back to school plan can also be accessed from the main page of SSISD’s website.
Saltillo ISD administrators, on Thursday, Aug. 13, on the district website reported they’d received notified on Aug. 12, that a district employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Saltillo ISD release, the employee who tested positive last worked on the Saltillo ISD campus on Aug. 6. The employee did not have contact with students or non-district employees while on campus.
The area in which the employee worked is being deeply sanitized.
“The District continues to monitor this situation and will provide additional information as needed. We hope for a successful recovery for our Saltillo I.S.D. staff member,” Saltillo ISD administrator noted in the post.
A special event is being held at the school Sunday afternoon for any who would like to participate. Simply arrive at Saltillo ISD student parking lot at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, for a time of unified prayer for students and staff during the 2020-21 school year which begins Aug. 17.