Waco ISD to close 4 campuses effective Friday

The Waco ISD is closing four secondary campuses effective Friday because of a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The Waco ISD is closing four secondary campuses effective Friday because of a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 11:28 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2020 at 2:23 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Waco ISD is closing four secondary campuses effective Friday because of a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

University High School, Waco High School, the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy and the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy will be closed through Oct. 16, Superintendent Susan Kincannon said Thursday.

University High School’s football game Friday against Bryan Rudder has been canceled and the Oct. 16 game against Aledo has been postponed.

Waco High School’s game Friday night at home against Killeen has also been cancelled. The Lions have a bye next week.

All other high school district games, meets and matches scheduled from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16 have been postponed and all other high school athletic events have been canceled.

“As the number of cases of COVID-19 reported at our high schools has increased, so too has the number of teachers and other employees required to quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with someone who tested positive,” she said.

A total of 25 people on the campuses have tested positive for the virus since the school year started and 14 of the cases were report in the last week, she said.

On Wednesday six active cases were reported at University High School and seven were reported at Waco High School.

“Most of those cases are unrelated to each other, and very few involve people who were in close contact with someone else at their campus who tested positive. Still, this is something that we are watching very closely,” Kincannon said.

“While most of our educators are able to teach remotely while quarantining, the number of employees out presents a challenge for appropriately supervising students without bringing large groups of students together in the same space,” she said.

Finding substitutes for the absent teachers is an issue, she said.

“We have been running more than 20 subs, having more than 20 sub requests at each of our high school campuses each and every day. You begin to bump up against substitute issues”

“Transitioning to fully remote instruction through next week should provide an opportunity for a reset and allow these campuses to reopen on Oct. 19 with most employees back on campus," she said.

All students will be provided with either a Chromebook or a laptop before leaving school Thursday.

Kincannon encouraged high school students and employees to take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing now available in Waco.

Testing will be available through Oct. 17 in McLennan County after the federal government allocated 40,000 cheek-swab tests to help slow the spread of the virus in the area.

Last Friday, Waco’s G.W. Carver Middle School closed its doors temporarily and sent students home to learn remotely after officials determined a number of students and employees were exposed to COVID-19.

Plans called for a return to on-campus instruction on Oct. 13.

Information about sites and registration is now available online.

(Drake Lawson contributed to this story)

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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