RED RIVER COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KSHV) — On the same day one East Texas school district announced that it was shutting down to COVID-19 another school district in the same county decided that it was moving to in-person instruction only.
On Thursday Clarksville ISD Superintendent Kermit Ward said all schools will be closed for the rest of the week after 3 more teachers tested positive for coronavirus.
Also on Thursday Avery ISD Superintendent Debbie Drew said that all students will return to in-person instruction only after recent data showed that virtual students are not mastering the grade-level curriculum. Also, teachers don’t have time to adequately serve students teaching face-to-face, virtual, and providing assignments to students who don’t have internet access.
Superintendent Ward recently learned that two more teachers at Cheatham Elementary School and a high school teacher had tested positive for COVID-19.
Ward also said that this week’s homecoming will be canceled and rescheduled for a later date.
Ward sent the following letter to students, parents and staff:
We have reached the tipping point in our district where consideration of school closure would make more sense on so many fronts. As of today, I have gotten word that we have two more teachers who are now Coronavirus positive. That brings the total at Cheatham to 3 teachers who currently have a positive diagnosis. We were faced with quarantining a total of 3 entire grade levels at Cheatham today and it gets to a point where trying to have school would lead to us having diminishing returns. Further, I received notification this morning that we now have a high school teacher with a positive diagnosis.
We will fold up, take the rest of the week, and start back up the school on Monday. The rationale is that if there is anyone of our staff and students where the virus is lying dormant, this gives us the time to see and learn if they show symptoms. Delaying this decision and trying to have school could easily lead to longer disruptions. The most current research states that someone can be contagious 48 to 72 hours before any symptoms may occur and the symptoms can appear 4 to 8 days after the initial exposure. Taking school out to the picture will give us 10 consecutive days and open up a window that will allow us to determine if anything emerges with either teachers or students.
Unfortunately and seemingly predictable, this was homecoming week for CISD. A week that we could give back to our kids and restore some of the normal traditions of being in high school. This too will be yet another thing that will fall casualty to the current times. The football game with Detroit for homecoming will indeed be canceled in the interest and pursuit of safety and health for all. We will try to re-insert homecoming during the basketball season. I have to pause and think about how much has been taken from both the seniors of last year and this year. This district will continue to be conscious of the frustrations of our youth.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Drew said effective Monday, Oct. 19 AISD will provide remote learning only when a student is ordered to quarantine.
Drew said parents who don’t want their child to return for face-to-face instruction can transfer to another school district, enroll in an online school such as K-12 or homeschool their child.
Here is the letter the Drew sent to students, parents and staff: