On Wednesday hundreds of students and staff stayed home after Keller ISD announced that Fossil Ridge High School will pivot to virtual learning only for two-weeks. The move has also forced the district to halt athletic practices and cancel the first football game of the season.
Several employees are in quarantine after they came in close contact to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement to parents, the district said, "While we have a small number of confirmed positive student and staff cases, it is our adherence to our safety protocols and quarantine guidelines that have left us short-staffed."
Back to School
NBC 5 tracks how North Texas schools tackle the return to the classroom during a pandemic.
The district's COVID-19 dashboard shows that as of Wednesday, 11 students and two staff members currently have the virus.
The move to learn remotely impacts students who opted for in-person learning. Remote learning officially starts for all students on Monday, Sept. 21 according to the district.
One parent told NBC 5 over the phone that she didn't understand why students who were already learning virtually would not have three days of instruction.
In a statement, the district said the next three days are, "to provide time to ensure that students are properly equipped with devices to participate in remote instruction. This includes Remote@KISD students, as well, as these teachers prepare to teach their courses from home instead of from their classrooms. In the meantime, please look for communication from your child’s teachers, along with details about technology distribution from the campus."
The Director of Athletics for Keller ISD, Eric Persyn, said all athletic events at FRHS have been suspended until Sept. 30.
The first football game of the season against Azle High School has been canceled too.
"It’s all safety, it’s precautionary, we care for the kids, we care for our adults we care for the people who walk in the stadiums," Persyn said.
Persyn said FRHS is supposed to play Ennis High School next week, but they haven't made any decisions. He said he knows it's difficult for all the student-athletes to have a miss a game.
"You get something like this which some kids don't even realize it's going on until they get that email from the school or their parents say hey, 'This is what's going on,' so it's really been tough for all of them," Persyn said.
Student-athletes at FRHS can't practice on campus, so different programs will have the kids Zoom with coaches and also send home workout plans, according to Persyn.
"We also need to send them workouts for what they need to be doing as well because two weeks off from any type of work out, you’re going to lose a lot if you’re sitting at home doing nothing," Persyn said. "I think a lot of them really are self-motivated right now because they’ve been away for this so much, and so many of them want to put on a uniform and play in a game.”
Wednesday marked the 100th day since student-athletes returned to prepping for the season. He said the situation of 2020 as a whole has been tough for the athletes.
"It's a beat down form them, it truly is, I mean they have done everything that we've asked them whether it's social distancing or disinfecting or cleaning equipment or staying away from other things and not being inside," Persyn said. "I mean a lot of people don't realize we didn't really get into our weight rooms until far,far into the summertime. We spent that whole time outside lifting weights on the turf."
He said the DEC committee, which is made up of Northwest ISD, Southlake ISD and Keller have rules in place to address if a similar situation occurs again with canceled games.
"Our head coaches for all those teams have gotten together and we have rules in place to where hopefully we won't have to use as much as that, but we will have to have something in place to pick those playoff teams," Persyn said.
"Everyday is a challenge, everyday is something brand new that we didn’t think of yesterday," Persyn said.
However, 332 have been asked to quarantine because they were all in close contact with at least one of the infected people.
The district says the move to virtual learning is an effort to adhere to safety protocols and quarantine guidelines.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.