Several North Texas school districts reopened their campuses Monday after viral outbreaks forced closures last week.

Independent school districts in Archer City, Chillicothe, Crowell, Graham, Olney, Garner, and Rio Vista opened their doors again on January 29 after widespread illness led to classes being canceled. Benjamin ISD will resume classes on January 30.

A large share of staff members and students were hit with respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, RSV, and COVID-19, last week.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the district closures were announced amid surging rates of common respiratory illnesses across North Texas. According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, last updated on January 25, emergency room visits for influenza spiked over the past two weeks.

Districts used the closures and the weekend to sterilize school facilities and allow those struck with illness to recover. However, experts have asked for continued vigilance from parents and guardians in order to avoid more school closures. Children showing signs of sickness, especially fever, should be kept home until symptoms have abated for at least 24 hours.

School closures can lead to significant student learning loss, as was seen nationwide after the COVID-19 lockdowns, especially in math and reading. Despite the efforts of the district’s dedicated educators, Dallas ISD students, for instance, logged dismal scores on statewide assessments, sparking action from several nonprofits to improve learning outcomes, as covered by The Dallas Express.

According to the district’s latest Texas Education Agency accountability report, only 41% of students scored at grade level on their STAAR exams across several metrics in the 2021-2022 school year. Meanwhile, nearly 20% of Dallas ISD’s senior students failed to earn a diploma in four years.