Louise ISD administrators closed the district’s high school Wednesday after seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, and will be temporarily reinstating remote learning for that campus until case numbers go down.

“Our high school kids go off campus and go to different school districts and could bring COVID back to Louise,” Superintendent Garth Oliver said. “We closed just to keep the quick spread of our community down. Our teachers are at risk.”

Louise High School students were sent home at 12:41 p.m. Wednesday with the closure lasting through the week and continuing this coming week.

About 20 new positive cases for faculty and students came back earlier this week at Louise High School, while about two at the junior high and elementary tested positive, Superintendent Oliver told the newspaper Thursday. LHS has about 140 students currently enrolled.

LISD administrators currently do not plan to close the junior high and elementary schools or to offer campus-wide remote learning for those schools. Students diagnosed with COVID-19 have the option to continue classes remotely.

“This is a very strong philosophy, but if I shut everything down, then nobody has a choice as to what they want to do,” Oliver said. “Versus if we keep as much open as we can, parents and students get to decide for themselves whether they want to take that risk.”

Beginning next week, LHS students will begin remote classes until school resumes in person.

“I met with the high school teachers yesterday and they all seemed very confident they could just move right into remote learning,” Oliver said.

LISD teachers offered remote learning for the first grading period of the school year, but the program was later discontinued due to poor student academic performance. Since then, individual students have been allowed to conduct classes from home if diagnosed with COVID-19, according to administrators.

“The teachers are going to be teaching remotely, and the students are going to have to fall in line with that expectation,” Oliver said. “How that goes, every family and every student is going to be different. Some kids are very focused and others are not. Everybody is going to have to take responsibility.”

LISD students began the spring semester on Jan. 5 after having about two weeks off for Christmas vacation. Schools across the state have been battling increased numbers of COVID-19 cases after returning from Christmas break, including El Campo ISD.

At LHS, the spike may be unrelated to Christmas vacation travel, Oliver said.

“We’ve been back long enough that it might not be the holidays,” he said. “It might be something related to going to other campuses and other towns, which we’ve always known is a risk, but by the same token, few people want to stop doing the things that kids do in high school.”

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