The head of the Texas Education Agency said the schools are dealing with major operational issues.
Mike Morath told members of the state education department that spreading the community is so rampant that it is almost a guarantee that someone with an active infection will enter the school campus.
As previously reported, the number of active cases on Venus ISD, south of the metroplex, was so high that there are not enough staff to continue school. All schools are closed this week and will not open until after Labor Day.
There are more and more students and staff who test positive. Some schools do not even have enough staff to hold classes. The ASD considers it a “very disturbing situation”.
MONTH: Outbreaks of COVID-19 are forcing more schools in North Texas to close
This week there are no indications of students, teachers or staff at Venus ISD schools. Classes are canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks and close contacts.
Superintendent James Hopper says more than 10 percent of his 330 teachers and staff were going to leave in their forties this week. Last week, more than 100 children tested positive for COVID-19. Therefore, the district canceled everything.
“The last thing we want to do is leave instruction. The last thing we want to do is close schools,” he said. “There is no post-COVID world right now and so what we need to do is just face it and therefore we will have absences.”
COVID’s rises in Texas school districts were at the center of the discussion during Wednesday’s state board meeting.
“None of us wanted to be in this situation today,” Morath said. “I don’t think any of us thought we’d be in this situation on or about July 1.”
The TEA says it has delivered 1.5 million rapid tests of COVID-19 to districts across the state over the past three weeks.
“Again, struggling with issues that go far beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic,” Morath said.
“The problem all schools have now is that no one has enough substitute teachers,” Hopper said. “No one has enough bus drivers. No one has enough guardians.”
The TEA does not enforce Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on school mask warrants, citing ongoing lawsuits over local order and control.
Although several districts require masks, Venus ISD does not. The superintendent says that despite the outbreak, that will not change when schools reopen next week.
“Some people prefer to mask themselves, and some don’t,” Hopper said. “And so we want to keep that flexibility as long as possible.”
Venus ISD schools have been testing in situ. They now plan to return to last year’s temperature control model and increase the number of times classrooms are cleaned.