To keep students in the classroom, area districts must keep COVID-19 out

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:59 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Keeping students in the classroom as area schools reopen over the next month means keeping COVID-19 out, and as if to underscore the potential challenges, the Waco ISD confirmed Thursday an employee has tested positive for the virus.

“I can’t identify specific employees who have tested positive, but since June, we have had 32 employees diagnosed with COVID-19,” WISD Chief of Staff Kyle DeBeer said.

“That includes several employees who are off-contract (or don’t) work over the summer,” he said.

“That said, there are members of our custodial staff who have reported testing positive for COVID-19 since the start of June.”

The Waco ISD won’t start the new school year until after Labor Day and officials say classrooms will be cleaned more frequently than they were before COVID-19.

"Each room will be cleaned twice a day and we are really going to focus on high touch areas like door knobs or water fountains," Assistant Director of maintenance Kevin Hafer said.

The district says it hasn’t received any additional funding for cleaning supplies, and will be using the same cleaning products as it did before the pandemic that the cleaning materials are the same from years prior.

The disinfectants, however, have been approved to use by local hospitals.

“Everyone is involved really in making this the safest environment we can based on the info we have,” Hafer said.

Cleaning will also be stepped up in the neighboring Connally ISD.

The school district is planning to have students clean the classroom every time they leave, wear masks if they are older and 10, and quarantine if they experience COVID symptoms.

"We actually have a flow chart that was developed for anytime a student expresses or displays symptoms," Chief Human Resource Officer Jill Talamantez said.

"Students will be quarantined and if they test positive further steps will be taken," Talamantez said.

The district says guests in the building will also be limited, and all staff members will be required to have their temperatures checked.

Both districts plan to start in-class learning on Sept. 8, Connally ISD will have students begin online only starting August 13th.

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