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Cautious optimism: Central Texas school districts reporting decrease in COVID cases

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Area school administrators reported the number of active COVID-19 cases are decreasing considerably.

The trend is relatively new, so the phrase “cautious optimism” is something being reiterated.

In recent weeks, active cases have gone down from the triple digits to some counts in the single digits.

“I would say we’re still concerned, obviously,” said Rhiannon Settles, the director of health services for Waco ISD. “This is still definitely an active issue but it’s getting better.”

The beginning of school in late-August brought hundreds of new COVID cases per week in Waco ISD. Now, the district is reporting a total of seven cases this week for students and staff.

“Since we put masks on and the numbers of the county have started to decrease our numbers have as well,” Settles said.

Optimistic data is also being shared by administration from nearby McGregor ISD. In a post from the superintendent, he said there has not been a positive case reported since Oct. 12.

“It looks like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, this is -- it’s not going to last forever, we’ll get through it for sure,” Settles said.

Though no mask mandate is in place at Killeen ISD, administration reports a case decrease within the last three weeks. Updated numbers show 94 cases within the last 10 days.

“We’ve got a lot of different variables at play, we don’t say it’s any one thing that’s making a difference,” said Taina Maya, KISD’s chief communications and marketing officer.

Both districts are also following trends reported by the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard.

“Now that we’ve kind of had a few weeks of school without any type of real holiday recently, we’re able to maintain some lower numbers.”

But as COVID fears ease slightly, other concerns remain.

“So if we started to see an uptick in cases once it’s flu season, cold and RSV season, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Settles said. “But if that happens, we’ll be ready.

Click here for vaccine clinic information for Waco ISD.

Click here for vaccine clinic information for Killeen ISD.

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