A teacher and a student have tested positive for COVID-19 causing Matagorda ISD to close all of its campuses until after the Thanksgiving break.
The teacher and student has had interaction with all of the students of the district and thus the district has made the decision to close its campuses out of caution.
“Given that we have a student and teacher with a confirmed case of COVID, our district will close operations through Friday, Nov. 27 in an effort to slow the potential spread of the virus,” said Susan Phillips, superintendent of Matagorda ISD. “The target date for reopening is Monday, Nov. 30. All students are participating in remote learning and teachers will be outreaching them Friday, Nov. 12 and Monday through Friday of the following week. Updates will be sent to families through our automated phone and text system as needed.”
This is the first reported closure by a Matagorda County district since schools reopened back in August of this year.
The news for the district comes on the heels of Matagorda County experiencing a slight rise in COVID-19 cases. At this point, the Department of Health Services has Matagorda County listed with 23 active cases.
“We are aware of the situation at the Matagorda ISD,” said Mitch Thames, Matagorda County public information officer. “We are working with them to make sure every child and staff member is being taken care of in the building. All protocols are being followed. The staff is notifying parents and the EOC is ready to assist them as needed.
Overall, using the same DSHS data and calculations, the State of Texas as a whole has experienced a 46 percent increase in new cases when comparing the last two 14-day periods. 81,509 new cases from Oct. 22 to Nov. 4 compared to 55,733 new cases from Oct. 8 to Oct. 21.
“When you think about days like July 10, where we had more new cases in one day than we’ve had in the past 14 days combined, Matagorda County is still in very good shape from a public health perspective,” Thames said. “However, as promised, the hospital district and the Matagorda County EOC would like to call attention to this upward trend in new COVID-19 cases in our community.”
According to Grant McGalliard, chief communications officer for Bay City ISD, Bay City ISD has 15 active cases among students and staff across all of its campuses.
At the beginning of the process, Bay City ISD set a standard response protocol. Right now, Bay City ISD remains at Level 2 which states that the district has one or more confirmed COVID-19 at one campus/facility population and are unable to operate effectively with in-person learning.
“We have 15 students and faculty across the district that are confirmed to have COVID and are self-quarantining,” McGalliard said.
At this level, Bay City ISD will notify all staff and parents or guardians on campus during any period of the exposure with health monitoring guidance. If appropriate, the district would consider short-term closure of facility.
It is time to review the recommendations that the CDC and DSHS has published.
Thames said residents should consider washing their hands often, avoid large crowds, social distance, and consider wearing a mask while around other people.
As residents approach the travel and festivities of the holiday season, residents are encouraged to remain committed to the hand hygiene, physical distancing, and proper face mask wearing procedures to which everyone has become accustomed in recent months. This is especially important for multi-generational family and social gatherings where vulnerable populations including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions may be present.
Thames encourages anyone who is sick, has a suspected COVID-19 diagnosis, or has been around someone with a COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days to consider postponing travel and avoiding gatherings.