MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — The Manor Independent School District has announced a new school closure.
“Administrators at Lago Elementary School were notified that a campus staff member has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19,” a letter to the public reads. “The facility is being deep cleaned and sanitized to ensure the safety of all scholars and staff.”
The elementary school joins Manor Elementary Early Learning Center, which won’t open until Nov. 13.
Despite many schools across Central Texas reporting positive COVID-19 cases, the decision from Manor ISD to close two different schools for 14 days apiece is an unprecedented move that we have not seen yet this fall.
As of Tuesday, Manor has five total confirmed cases in the district, all from staff. For perspective, the Austin Independent School District has more than 17 times that amount, with 88 staff and student cases. It’s important to note that AISD’s student population hovers around 81,000 students while Manor ISD’s is around 9,500.
KXAN wanted to find out from all the school districts in the area what it would take to shut down a campus for two weeks.
Most districts have differing policies, and very few have clear-cut guidelines explaining what exactly would need to happen to make that call.
Bastrop, Lockhart, Pflugerville, Leander, Round Rock, Lake Travis and Dripping Springs ISD all said they rely on the advice of local public health authorities to guide that decision. Austin Public Health was unable to say whether it advised Manor ISD to shut down.
Austin ISD said it wouldn’t shut down unless a cluster was identified or if it was unable to contact trace.
As for parents, there are mixed opinions about whether this two-week closure is too extreme of a measure.
Lacy Ayoub, a mother to a nine-year-old at Lagos Elementary, applauded the district and wondered why others in Central Texas aren’t doing the same.
“I’m thankful Manor took the precautions that they did,” Ayoub said. “I don’t feel [other school districts] are putting our children’s best interests ahead of politics.”
Amaly Moreno, a school bus driver and mom to a Manor ISD student, says this poses a significant hardship for her family.
“As a parent, I don’t think it’s extreme. I think it’s the right call,” Moreno said. “As a bus driver, it is difficult. This is our living wage. We have to put in a lot of hours to pay our bills. This pays our bills.”