More than 1,000 Fort Worth ISD students and staff are in quarantine after either testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed to someone who did, district officials say.
The district said through Friday 908 students and 185 employees were out of school due to either a positive test or close contact with someone who tested positive.
The number of students is as high as it is because children under 12 years old are not eligible for the vaccine. Fort Worth ISD has approximately 80,000 students, officials said.
Fort Worth ISD notifies the parents of any students who have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, in accordance with guidance issued Thursday by the Texas Education Agency.
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Anyone who has been vaccinated and exposed to the virus does not have to quarantine, the district said.
All schools in the district are still open. Fort Worth ISD did not have any schools close last year due to COVID-19.
The district strongly encourages students and staff to wear face masks indoors on campus.
"I visited about a dozen schools this week and am happy to report 85% or so of students, faculty and staff are using masks as a result of our encouragement and I find that encouraging," Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner said Friday.
District parents filed and were granted a temporary restraining order against a mask requirement Scribner issued two weeks ago. The Fort Worth ISD school board then voted to join a lawsuit with several other Texas school districts seeking a restraining order against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) executive order prohibiting mask mandates.
"I think what we have to do is recognize this is a global pandemic, this is a public health crisis that we cannot allow to be a generational educational crisis," Scribner said. "So we really have to make decisions, de-personalize it, because it's not about any one of us individually. It's a community decision that ultimately we have to arrive at."
On Friday, the district announced it would launch a temporary virtual learning option for students in grades six and below who have a documented medical condition.
The school board will vote on the proposal at a meeting Tuesday. The virtual learning would start on Sept. 13 and run through the fall semester. Registration would open Wednesday at 12 p.m.