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Saturday, November 26, 2022
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Local Schools Feeling the Effects of COVID-19


Kids and teacher wearing masks in class. | Image from Drazen Zigic

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For the last two days, the classrooms sat empty in the Rio Vista School District after it was forced to temporarily shut down. Both students and teachers at Rio Vista ISD reportedly have tested positive for COVID-19 at a high rate.

The district held a COVID-testing event for its staff on Sunday where 30 of the district’s 136 staff members tested positive. That’s about 22% of the staff.

As of Sunday, 19 of the district’s 829 students were confirmed positive for COVID. The school district offered a testing event for students yesterday, but the results of that testing have not yet been released.

In a letter sent to parents, Rio Vista ISD stated that the schools were forced to close due to a lack of teachers and substitute teachers. During the two-day closure, the school buildings would be thoroughly cleaned.

More and more schools in Texas are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 surge, with some, such as Richardson ISD, reinstating their mask requirement.

Dallas ISD isn’t immune to the surge of cases either; approximately 15% of students were absent last Thursday. The district recently renewed its mask requirement until at least spring break.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, in keeping with the latest CDC guidelines, Dallas ISD has reduced its isolation periods for staff with COVID-19 from ten days to only five days.

However, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is sticking with its recommendation of a ten-day isolation period for students who test positive for COVID. Staff members testing positive but experiencing no symptoms can reduce their isolation time to five days, according to TEA’s updated guidelines for staff.

Parents in some school districts have reported difficulty finding available testing for their children. Fox 4 News quoted one Mesquite ISD parent, Tamatha Powell, who expressed her frustration when trying to get her child tested at the Mesquite school district’s testing site: “I have been hearing crazy stuff. People can’t get tested. They are all booked up right now.”

Demand for testing in the DFW area continues to rise despite the addition of more drive-thru testing sites throughout Dallas.

COVID-19 is affecting school transportation as well. Both Plano and Garland ISD reported delayed or modified bus routes due to many drivers being absent.

Nationwide, there is a shortage of substitute teachers, placing some Texas schools on thin ice as more and more teachers take time off.

“I’ve never seen anything remotely close to this,” said Taylor Elementary School Principal Lisa Pedevilla about the substitute teacher shortage.

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