El Campo and Louise school districts have seen a steady decline in COVID-19 cases after the first two weeks of school saw a surge in positive tests among students and staff members.
ECISD reported 66 positive tests among students and 14 teachers with confirmed cases in the first two weeks of school. Louise had 16 students and one teacher with a positive COVID test in their first week of reporting cases on their website.
The 66 COVID cases in the first two weeks for El Campo are more than every month last year. Although the school does not have a mask mandate or an option for virtual learning, there are still measures to protect students and staff.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have tried to find ways to have a safe learning environment in our schools,” Superintendent Bob Callaghan said.
“We have been active in the fight against COVID and will continue to look for anything that can add an extra layer of protection to our students and staff.”
Louise had a total of 58 cases in September but also experienced a steady decline from the start of the school year. They are currently dealing with four active COVID cases in the elementary school and have no other positive tests in the district, as of press time.
Superintendent Garth Oliver wanted the district to focus on getting back to normal and not focusing on the pandemic to start the school year.
“Our focus will remain on continuous improvement of teaching and learning,” Oliver said. “We have no ability to stop this virus, and I guarantee you a mask won’t stop it.”
LISD has rapid COVID tests available for students and staff to use as a tool to try to stop the spread of the virus, Oliver said.
Louise ISD has 500 students enrolled in the district and El Campo ISD has more than 3,500 students across five campuses.
ECISD has spent more than $390,000 in COVID mitigation efforts thus far. These efforts include air system ionizers in every building, removing up to 99 percent of airborne virus particles from the air.
“I think purchasing the ionizers was one of the best decisions we have made and something I don’t think a lot of schools have utilized,” Callaghan said. “Ionizers are just one of many ways we have to protect kids, and we will continue to look for more solutions to combat this virus.”
There were 11 confirmed positive COVID cases among students In the last two weeks of September. Two teachers tested positive in the same time period.
“This has become a real team effort led by our teachers and staff,” ECHS Assistant Principal Moises Rodriguez said. “Many of our students still wear masks, practice social distancing and have a general sense that they need to be careful.”
Texas has seen a decline in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths after the summer Delta Variant surge.
ECISD will next bring in a disinfection company to clean the school and update their restrooms in an effort to mitigate the COVID-19 virus. In addition, Callaghan said he will continue to bring ideas to the school board to fight the Covid-19 Virus.
“The board has tasked me to be the head of our COVID response, and I have taken that responsibility seriously,” Callaghan said. “Our priority is keeping kids in school, and we will do everything possible to make that happen.”