Red River Valley Schools has been back in session for almost two weeks, returning to personal learning during the latest addition to the Cove 19. The anti-mask mandate of Greg Abbott, a highly contagious delta species with the government, raised fears that respiratory illness would severely affect schools, especially after the Mississippi schools were temporarily closed after the outbreak.
To date, a Red River Valley School District has closed one campus due to the spread of Cove 19. All districts are reporting active cases to students and some staff.
In a letter Monday, Clarks Will ISD Superintendent Kermit Ward said Chatham Elementary School would be closed for this week because seven teachers were out due to District Magistrate Quarantine as they shared a home with a family member. There are those who have positively tested Covid 19. Several schoolchildren were also sent home. Ward said the closure would extend Chatham’s last day to June 3. Middle and high schools will remain open, and will close on May 26. Clarksville ISD ordered students and staff to wear masks at least until Friday.
As of Tuesday morning, the Red River Valley school districts had the highest number of cases in North Lamar ISD, with 69 cases for students and 13 for staff. Of those, 14 students and five staff members have recovered, according to the district’s Coved 19 Resources webpage. The hardest hit was Campus High School with 36 students and three staff cases, followed by Stone Middle School with 15 student cases and one staff case. No other campus had more than eight cases in total, according to district statistics.
Like North Lamar, Paris ISD is reporting cases through its Cove 19 Resource webpage. As of Tuesday, a total of 25 cases of students and four cases of staff were reported in the district. According to district statistics, the cases of two students and two staff were recovered. Paris High School had the highest number of students at 12 with a staff member case. The next highest number of student cases is Campus Aiken Elementary with five and one staff member cases. No other campus had more than two student cases or one staff member case, according to district statistics.
Paris ISD is the only district in Lamar County where students and staff are required to wear a mask, which they did by incorporating the mask into their dress code. The Board of Trustees has said the dress code increase is temporary and will be reviewed at monthly meetings.
In response to the Paris News inquiry, Chasem ISD Superintendent Tommy Clayer reported four active cases among students, one each in middle and high school and two in elementary school. Eleven elementary students were in quarantine, as required by Paris-Lamar County Health District guidelines for close contact with cases of Covid 19 without a mask or vaccine. One student has been quarantined from middle school, he said.
And Preland ISD Superintendent Jeff Ballard reported the cases of two active staff and four active students on Monday. He did not specify which campus the cases fall into.
Elsewhere in Red River Valley, RiverCrist ISD Superintendent Stanley Jesse confirmed four active student cases in his district. Three students are from elementary campus and one is a high school student. Cooper ISD Superintendent Denisia Hohnberger said there are seven active student cases in her district, less than 1 percent of students. It did not specify which campus the students attended. And there were five confirmed active cases at Detroit ISD on Monday, according to Superintendent Kathy Thompson.
“We have something else that is out or being tested, but at the moment we have five,” Thompson told Paris News. “We are not seeing large numbers on any one campus.”
Superintendent Todd Morrison said Honey Guru ISD had nine active student cases and no staff cases on Monday. In a letter last week, Morrison informed parents that HoneyGro ISD will implement a two-phase CoVID 19 safety map plan that includes a phase when seven labs have verified active cases. At this stage, all teachers will wear masks. In the second phase, all first graders and staff will wear masks. According to the letter, this phase is activated when there are 19 cases of 10 active lab-certified covids.
“This tension is very active,” Morrison wrote. “We are implementing safety measures to keep staff and students safe.”