The number of COVID cases reported among Texas students nearly triples in a week

State data show that the number of positive COVID-19 cases among Texas public school students increased by more than 9,000 in one week.

As of Aug. 22, there were 14,033 positive COVID case reports in students across the state, according to data released Friday by Texas Health and Human Services. The figure represents an 182% increase in the 4,976 cases of students reported as of August 15.

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There were another 3,425 positive cases in school staff across the state, an increase of 712 over the previous week.

The cumulative number of cases in students since the start of the 2021-2022 school year is 20,256. The total number of staff cases for this school year is 7,488.

The increase in cases occurs as hospitals in the Houston region are refilled with COVID patients and the more contagious delta variant is spreading. Many districts do not require the use of masks this year because of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to ban mask warrants. Dozens of districts, including Houston and Spring ISD, have implemented mask requirements despite the governor’s order, which are challenging the courts.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive any of the available COVID vaccines and many districts do not offer a virtual option due to lack of funding.

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There are an estimated 5.3 million students in Texas schools and 800,000 employees.

During the 2020-21 school year, a total of 148,197 cases were recorded among Texas students and another 73,741 among staff.