One area school district rejects health department recommendation to close for 10 days

LEANDER, Texas (KWTX) – The Leander ISD, which has recorded almost 430 cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers, and staff since Aug. 5, and almost 180 during the current week, is rejecting a recommendation from the Williamson County & Cities Health District to close for 10 class days.

“At this time, we are keeping schools open and focusing on individual classrooms impacted by clusters of positive cases,” the district, with more than 40 schools and about 40,000 students, said in its response.

“It is possible that whole classrooms at the elementary level may be required to access remote conferencing with their teacher. We will communicate those details directly to impacted staff, teachers, and families,” the district said.

“We share the concerns of WCCHD regarding the spread of COVID-19 in our community. At this time we do not believe a districtwide closure meets the needs of our students and families. While we have some pockets of concern, we also have several campuses with few positive cases,” the district said.

The recommendation came in an email from the health district’s medical director, Amanda Norwood.

“Multiple campuses for LISD have two or more active clusters on campus. Given known limitations in contact tracing and quarantining, we are concerned that exposed contracts will continue to convert to cases at an alarming rate this week,” she wrote.

She also recommended the district institute universal masking, robust contact tracing and mandatory quarantine for those in close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus.

The district says it continues to require masks in all district facilities.

Parents may submit opt-out forms.

Williamson County had 5,975 active cases of the virus Tuesday, according to Department of State Health Services data.

Nearly 730 patients diagnosed with the virus were hospitalized in the state Trauma Service Area that includes Williamson County and 10 ICU beds were available, DSHS data showed.

More than 75% of the county’s residents 12 and older have received one dose of vaccine and almost 65 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, according to DSHS data Tuesday.

Written by KWXT

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