After almost a month of classes for some districts, COVID-19 cases are steadily on the rise in many North Texas schools.
Leaders in some of the largest local school districts are keeping an eye on the totals.
The last month has been a roller coaster for everyone in education at all levels across the state, with the battle over mask mandates and the push to get more people vaccinated.
Some school districts like Princeton and Kemp have had to close schools because of COVID-19 outbreaks.
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Princeton ISD -- which is a district of about 6,000 students – had 141 active cases with students and staff as of Wednesday. The district had to close an elementary school this week because of an outbreak involving 50 students.
Parents are encouraged to keep an eye on the totals in their child’s school district, as many are posting data on active COVID-19 cases and the number of those in quarantine.
Many school districts are reporting a few hundred total cases among staff and students since the school year started.
Other larger districts have reported several hundred to more than 1,000 total cases – including Dallas and Fort Worth, the two largest districts in North Texas.
As of Wednesday, Fort Worth ISD had reported nearly 900 student cases out of over 80,000 students. Of those, 723 are active cases, mostly at elementary schools where many children are under the minimum age of 12 to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fort Worth ISD is taking it a step further in their contact tracing data and even reporting the number of students who have had close contact with someone who tested positive on campus, which totals more than 4,000 so far this year.
In Dallas ISD, which has been staunch about its mask requirement, overall COVID-19 cases among staff and students total about 1,200 as of Wednesday.
About 789 are students alone, out of approximately 130,000 who are enrolled in person. Click here to view the DISD dashboard.
“I think the good news is when we are seeing cases of COVID-19 in our schools, it’s a small number in comparison to the number of students we serve,” said Susana Cordova, deputy superintendent for Leading and Learning for DISD. “Unfortunately we are seeing more cases with students and I think that reflects the concerns that folks have around the vaccine."
She said the district is not anywhere near the point of closing schools, as some districts around the state have done.
“We make decisions based on the number of cases and the only time that we would close the school is if we don’t have enough adults to keep our schools open,” Cordova said. “We are fortunate – we’re a large district and we have staff that can step in if teachers need to be out because of COVID. But our goal is to try to have as few interruptions as possible for students.”
She added that the mask and safety protocols that are in place are helping to keep the numbers in check right now.
“We’re really pleased that over 96% of our students have returned to school. That’s really great with how critical it is for kids to be back in school,” said Susana Cordova, deputy superintendent for Leading and Learning for DISD. “And the vast majority, in fact, 99.99% of our students have had no problem with our mask protocol. We do want to assure everybody that we take it really seriously to make sure their schools are safe places.”
Click the links below to see the COVID-19 dashboards for some of the largest districts in North Texas: