After shutting an elementary school each of the first two days this week, Angleton ISD officials decided to close all 10 campuses until after the Labor Day holiday in an effort to control a surge in COVID-19 cases, the district announced Tuesday.
Danbury ISD is doing the same with two of its campuses starting today in response to a spike in infections among students and staff, the district said. Brazosport ISD will continue with business as usual, Superintendent Danny Massey said, while Sweeny ISD is weighing its course after an uptick in cases.
Columbia-Brazoria ISD did not have any additional updates since Monday, when it reported its infection rate wouldn’t require the closures of any campuses, Superintendent Steven Galloway said.
Angleton ISD canceled classes Monday at Northside Elementary School after six staff numbers and 18 students had tested positive. The district closed Westside Elementary, which had a similar level of cases, for Tuesday while extending Northside’s closure for the rest of the week.
District leaders decided the best course would be to shut all campuses for the rest of the week after both the high school and junior high saw the number of cases jump. The case count among students at the junior high doubled from 22 on Friday to 44 on Tuesday, and the high school count rose from 39 to 53 in the same period, the Angleton ISD COVID Dashboard shows.
“We have been closely monitoring COVID-19 data throughout the district, reviewing the data on a school-by-school basis,” a statement from the district said. “After close review, we have decided that all Angleton ISD campuses will close the remainder of the week and will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 7, for regular school hours.”
Schools were scheduled to be closed Monday in observance of Labor Day.
Students will not be expected to work remotely and no assignments or homework will be assigned during the break, the release stated. Parents are encouraged to have their children tested for COVID if they show any sign of illness.
“During this time, we ask parents/guardians whose children experience any (COVID) symptoms to call their child’s campus and schedule a time to get tested for COVID,” the district said. “School nurses will be at every campus all week to test any student or staff member who would like to be tested for COVID.”
The district does not anticipate the days needing to be made up at the end of the year, according to the statement.
Extracurricular activities at the high school and junior high campuses will continue as planned. Angleton ISD administrative offices will remain open and all campuses will undergo cleaning and sanitizing while students are out.
Parents are asked to contact their child’s school if the child tests positive, has or develops symptoms or has been exposed to COVID.
Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches without a reason, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
“We understand any inconvenience this may cause, but we will continue to work toward keeping our Wildcats safe and healthy,” the district said.
COVID-19 outbreaks at Danbury Elementary and Danbury Middle School prompted the district to close those campuses for the rest of the week, but the high school will remain open.
When Danbury ISD officials met Tuesday morning, nearly a fifth of each of the elementary and middle school student body was absent due to COVID-related illnesses or close contact. The situation continued to worsen throughout the day, Superintendent Nancy Sandlin said.
“We keep losing students hour-by-hour,” Sandlin said. “We had 19 percent out at our elementary and 21 percent out at middle school and it has been increasing since then. ”
Officials met Monday morning after several students were absent from school because of COVID-19-related reasons, Sandlin said.
UIL events, extracurriculars and any school-related meetings will be canceled or rescheduled to a future date, according to a statement from the district. No assignments or homework will be given during the closure.
Absences will continue to be monitored at Danbury High School and updates provided as needed, Sandlin said in a statement.
“It’s not at that point yet but we are closely monitoring it,” Sandlin said. “Our high school has been less affected than the other two campuses and will closely monitor that.”
Students are expected to return to campuses Sept. 7 after the Labor Day holiday.
COVID testing will be made available. Anyone who would like to be tested can contact District Nurse David Paige at email@example.com or call 979-922-8787. Call the administration office, 979-922-1218 for more details.
An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past couple of days seems to be concentrated in certain extracurricular groups at Sweeny High School, and district officials are keeping an eye on whether those cases spread, Superintendent Tory Hill said.
Districtwide there are 68 active cases: 57 students and 11 staff members, he said. The largest number, 38, is concentrated at the high school but not rampantly spreading throughout the campus, Hill said. Multiple groups have been affected, including the high school football and volleyball teams and band, he said.
“We assess each situation every day, and our threshold for closure is 5 percent at any given campus, and we are currently assessing the high school to determine the best plan of action,” he said. “I want to assess it tomorrow to see if when some of those students come off quarantine if that percentage will go down … we felt (the spread) wasn’t rampant throughout the campus.”
The district’s numbers are available on its dashboard under the “COVID-19 Resources” tab at sweenyisd.org. Thirty-eight COVID-19-positive students at Sweeny High School is a percentage of about 6.59.
Sweeny Junior High has about 1.43 percent of students who are COVID-positive, and Sweeny Elementary School’s percentage is about 1.69.
The plan is to assess the percentages for one more day to be able to make a sound decision regarding the high school, Hill said.
“Today, Mr. Rowlett met with our extracurricular groups to remind our students of the importance of personal hygiene and hand sanitizer, social distancing, and so we’re going back to the basics of just making certain our students understand — if we’re going to remain open, if we’re going to continue to have those extracurricular programs, we all need to make certain we are being responsible,” he said.
The district’s goal is to remain open and provide a normal environment for students, but they will cancel sports events if necessary, he said.
“We definitely don’t want to end or cancel our overall extracurricular programs because that’s extremely important for our students,” Hill said. “Many of them come to school for that experience, and we want them to have that experience, but we want them to do so safely.”