HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — In many local school districts, teachers are heading back to their schools to prepare for the start of the fall semester. Amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in schools, districts in Hays County are already reporting that about a dozen employees who have been working in schools and district offices have tested positive for the virus.
Hays CISD says this summer, 31 of its more than 2,700 employees have reported testing positive for COVID-19. The majority of those were not working at the time, a district spokesman says.
However, the district says about 10 of the cases involved employees who were in district facilities during their possible infectious periods.
According to the district’s spokesman, earlier in the summer 15 custodians had to quarantine after coming in close contact with an individual who tested positive, however all 15 eventually tested negative. He says a group of 10 maintenance and operations staff members had to quarantine for a couple of days early on in the pandemic after being in contact with someone thought to have the coronavirus, but that person ended up testing negative.
Hays CISD has increased sanitation on high-touch areas during the pandemic and does additional cleaning in any buildings where someone who’s tested positive has been.
In Dripping Springs, a smaller district with about 1,000 employees, the city’s independent school district confirmed two people recently in its facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to a spokesperson for Dripping Springs ISD, an individual who tested positive was last present at Walnut Springs Elementary School on August 3. Through contact tracing, the district says, it found that no one else in the school was determined to have been in close contact with the person who tested positive.
Physical presence in the building was minimal at the time, the district says, and daily cleaning and sanitizing has taken place in the elementary school since the district learned of the positive case. The district also conducted additional sanitizing in the areas of the school where the infected person was known to have been.
Another person who had not been in a school, but rather an auxiliary department office area also tested positive, DSISD says. According to the district, the same cleaning and sanitizing steps were taken in this case. The district notified people who came into close contact with the infected person, and they’re currently quarantining for 14 days from when they were last in contact.
DSISD’s new teachers reported to work last Wednesday. For returning teachers, the first day back is coming up on Tuesday. The district’s school year will begin August 18, however learning will be remote for the first four weeks of the semester.
Hays CISD’s school year has been pushed back to September 8. All students will learn remotely until September 28.