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5 Of 6 Hopkins County School Districts Reporting COVID-19 Cases, Confirm Classes Still Being Held On Campus

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While 5 of the 6 Hopkins County school districts have reported at least one positive case of COVID-19, all except 1 were confirmed to have classes are still being held on campus today, despite rumors to the contrary. Sulphur Springs ISD is also moving forward with plans for class to begin Sept. 1 on scheduled.

Como-Pickton CISD

Como-Pickton Superintendent Greg Bower said the district as of Thursday morning has had only one student who has tested positive for COVID-19. That students has been quarantined, along with any determined to have been in “close contact” with the student. 

“We are still plugging along. Things are pretty smooth sailing for us,” Dr. Bower said. “We are excited to have the kids back.The teachers are doing really well with it. We are following all CDC guidelines, masks for 10 years and older for times when they are not able to social distance. It’s a change for everyone. Everybody gets their temperature checked. We have machines at the campus entrances to do that.”

School and activities continue as normal during this time of increased health safety measures. The girls have been playing volleyball and students and the boys are scheduled to play football Friday night. 

“We are excited about the football game tomorrow night,” Bower said. “The stadium will be at 50 percent capacity as required for social distancing. There will be no full stadium, but it will be good to get back in the swing of it.” 

This is the district’s third week of school, so students can expect progress reports to go out soon.

Cumby ISD

Cumby ISD also remained open for classes as of Thursday morning, Aug. 27. The district has had 2 high school students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Parents and community members can check the red “Updates on COVID-19 Cases” link at the bottom of the school website, www.cumbyisd.net, for the latest information regarding cases. The link includes a “case counter” that lists when a student or staff member has tested positive and when that individual is expected to return to school.

As soon as a person tests positive or is confirmed to have been exposed through close contact with someone who has COVID-19 per the school plan, the individual will be required to stay off the campus and asked to quarantine at home. That could mean that if students or staff were in close contact with the individual before being tested, those individuals would go into quarantine as well as a precaution against the spread of the virus..

As of Aug. 27, the district was confirmed to have 2 students who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Cumby ISD COVID-19 protocols went into effect The week of Aug. 10 after some students reported virus symptoms, then, one confirmed COVID-19 case was reported, according to school officials. School athletic activities and scrimmages were canceled until Aug. 24, but classes began on schedule Aug. 13.

The first student was reportedly positive on Aug. 7 and was to return to school Aug. 24. The second was positive on Aug. 20 and is expected to return to school Sept. 2. School continues as usual, with the added health safety precautions in place this year. Students will continue to be temperature checked up on entry to the building and all other health, safety precautions and guidelines are being followed.

Miller Grove ISD

As of Thursday morning, Miller Grove ISD Superintendent Steve Johnson reported the school is still in class as usual, with health safety measures in place.

Miller Grove ISD Hornet

 The district reportedly had one student in quarantine, and has had  student and one employee who have tested positive for COVID-19. The student reportedly became sick or exhibited signs over a weekend and  switched to home learning, but had returned to school on Aug. 27. The school employee reportedly became sick away from school and is “just about finished with quarantine,” according to Johnson.

“We are fogging the building every day. As soon as we find out someone has it, they don’t come back in until they’ve done their time in quarantine. We wear masks, even the athletes during athletics,” said Johnson.

Classes seem to be going well, with social distancing observed and students ages 10 and up wearing masks. Food is brought to younger students. Older students are sent two grades at a time to the cafeteria for meals. Students have seating charts, and time was added to first period so that students have time to arrive at school and have breakfast brought to their class. Students sit  6 feet apart in class, including for meals.

North Hopkins  ISD

North Hopkins ISD had not had any positive COVID-19 cases among students or staff as of Thursday morning, Aug. 27, according to Superintendent Dr. Darin Jolly.

In the event of a positive case, the district would follow the established guidelines, including notifying the Local Health Authority nurse so she can begin contact tracing, establish a timeline of where the student or staff member has been, and first onset of symptoms or date of positive result, then whether the people that individual was around was considered to be “in close contact” with the person with the positive result. The infected person and those considered exposed due to close contact would be in quarantine for 10-14 days.

While the district is well, thus far,  health safety measures continue to be observed as a precaution.

“Everything is looking good. We are taking extreme measures for safety,” Dr. Jolly said.

After talking with teachers, the district ordered 40 more pieces of plexiglass, used on desks classroom desks and in settings where social distancing isn’t possible or in which students may be considered “high risk” or unable to wear masks due to health issues.

Also applied daily in classrooms, buses and areas where people are is a special treatment to better sanitize. They also will be applying weekly another treatment that is supposed to protect surfaces.

Monday, Aug. 6 has been designated as a school work day, to provide more training time for teachers to become more proficient with the cameras and other technology now used in their classrooms.

Saltillo ISD

Saltillo ISD confirmed the district so far has had only one student and one employee who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The district received notified on Aug. 12, that a district employee had tested positive for COVID-19. The employee who tested positive had 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 was deeply sanitized.

On Aug. 26, Saltillo ISD reported a student who was lab-confirmed on Aug. 26 to have a positive COVID-19 result was last on campus on Aug. 24. “The Local Health Authority has begun a case investigation and will contact any individual determined to be  in close contact with the infected individual. All students and staff that came into close contact have been directly notified on Aug. 25. These individuals will remain off campus for up to 14 days to ensure they do not have the virus, so that there will not be any further spread,” Superintendent David Stickels noted in a released to “Saltillo ISD Family” ont he district website, www.saltilloisd.net.

According to school personnel, the student who tested positive and the rest of that grade level are in quarantine. However, those students are continuing their school work; they have switched to the district’s at-home learning plan. 

Sulpur Bluff ISD

On Aug. 24, Sulphur Bluff ISD Superintendent Dustin Carr posted a letter notifying the “Sulphur Bluff Bear Family” that one student who had been on campus had tested positive for COVID-19. The district was notified Monday afternoon. The student was last reported to have been on campus on Friday, Aug. 21.

While the phone at the school was answered, all questions including whether or not the district is having classes at campuse were referred to the superintendent, who was not available Thursday. Messages left by KSST Radio for Carr had not been returned by noon. Thursday, Aug. 27.

Letter posted at https://www.sulphurbluffisd.net/

Sulphur Springs ISD

Sulphur Springs ISD has measures in place and anticipates having students return to classes as scheduled on Sept. 1, with academic UIL speech and debate meets planned, band and football resuming activities as allowed. Officials are working on logistics of game seating, and way to help visitors to games follow required safety guidelines.

SSISD

Staff are training no only on use of technology for the Virtual Academy and classroom use, but also for potential full digital learning, in case the district has to close due to COVID-19 or other reasons. All teachers would be ready to teach remotely should that become necessary.

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 earlier that week.

Williams said he is not aware of any more staff members testing positive for COVID-19 since that time. However, there have been instances in which staff members have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 from a family members. The district follows CDC and TEA guidelines regarding quarantine and return to work are being followed. The school nurse and Local Health Authority nurse are contacted and cases investigated.

In instances, in which staff or student exhibit COVID-19 symptoms that could be another illness, such as a stomach bug or summer sinuses, they would be sent home and symptoms evaluated to determine what kind of test would be appropriate for that individual. The area the individual was in would be cleaned, and if needed, detrmination of exposure assessed and appropriate people notified.

Williams said as far as he knows, only 1 district student has tested positive for COVID-19, but the student was not on campus involved in school activities. Students who may have potentially had exposure from a family member are also required to quarantine and follow required steps before returning to campus.

He encourages to prepare their students for school by loving and encouraging them, teaching them school is an important part of their future. He said parents can also help reaydy their students for classes by ensure they’ve had adequate rest, and a good meal to eat that morning if the student will not be eating a school, then “Love them out the door and love them back home.”

Parents should before school each day screen their children for symptoms on website, and potentially take the child’s temperature. Any child who exhibits potential symptoms of COVID-19 or illness should be kept at home. Parents are encouraged to call their campus nurse if their child has any symptoms, to help determine whether to keep their child at home or not.

Contact numbers for SSISD campus nurses.

“Our goal is to mitigate the spread of COVID 19, if we can. We needs parents’ help to do this,” Williams said.

Symptoms for COVID-19 include:

  • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering
  • Significant muscle pain or ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

The district COVID-19 mitigation plan, including numbers for school nurses, can be found on the link on the main page of the district website, www.ssisd.net.

Author: Faith Huffman

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