The continuing surge of Covid-19 in the Red River Valley has prompted one school district to delay the reopening of school following the holiday break by a week.
Rivercrest ISD Superintendent Stanley Jessee announced the delay Saturday evening, saying the decision was made due to an increased number of active Covid-19 cases in the district’s communities during Christmas break. Students and staff are now set to return Jan. 11.
“This will allow students and staff more time to monitor, and quarantine, if necessary, after the Christmas break,” Jessee wrote on Facebook.
The Texas Department of State Health Services on Monday reported a total case count in Red River County of 470, which includes 72 active cases and 26 deaths. On Dec. 24, there were 393 total cases, including 48 active cases and 21 deaths.
Jessee noted that despite the delay, high school basketball games will continue as scheduled. According to the Rivercrest Rebels Boys Basketball page, the Rebels varsity team hosted Maud on Monday, and all teams were scheduled to host McLeod today at 4:30 p.m. On Friday, they are scheduled to host fellow Red River County school Clarksville.
Clarksville ISD students will return to school Wednesday, a notable change from the school year before the holiday break. Before Christmas, all Clarksville students participated in remote learning on Wednesdays, a method Superintendent Kermit Ward credited for preparing students for week-long shutdowns in late October and again after Thanksgiving as case counts rose.
However, Ward has acknowledged issues with engagement for an uncomfortably high number of students. The district’s board of trustees discussed the issue in late October, but ultimately decided to continue providing remote learning. When school returns Wednesday, remote students “who have not demonstrated academic progress through the distance learning platform” are expected to be in class for “face to face instruction 5 days per week,” Ward wrote in a Saturday morning letter.
“We realize that we have plenty of work to do as the pandemic has created many disadvantages that we must learn and work to overcome,” Ward wrote. “It is important for everyone to know that CISD will provide face to face instruction to all students starting January 6th and lasting until the end of the year.”
Also in Red River County, Detroit ISD has announced plans for students to return today. The district, like Clarksville ISD, shut down the week after Thanksgiving break, citing a rising number of students and staff reporting exposure to Covid-19. That’s not the case with this holiday break as “(w)e have very few students/staff quarantined at this time,” the district’s notice on Facebook states.
Families are reminded of the mask mandate in place, and they are asked to send a mask with their child to school.
The holiday break and current case surge did not affect reopening plans for Lamar County schools. Chisum and North Lamar students returned Monday, while Prairiland and Paris students were scheduled to return today.
According to the Paris-Lamar County Health District, there have been 4,276 total cases in Lamar County, including 77 deaths. The state health department reports 843 active cases in the county, up 566 on Dec. 24.
Covid-19 has not surged in Delta County as it has in neighboring counties. The state health department reports 161 total cases, including 25 active cases and three deaths. That’s up slightly from Dec. 24 when there were 132 total cases, including 11 active cases and three deaths. Cooper ISD students were scheduled to return to school this morning.
Active cases in Fannin County and Choctaw County, Oklahoma, have fallen since the start of the Christmas break. Students in both Honey Grove ISD and Hugo Public Schools were welcomed back to campus on Monday. Fannin County had 1,881 total cases on Monday with 99 active cases and 53 deaths. On Dec. 24, there had been 1,683 total cases with 133 active cases and 47 deaths. Choctaw County this morning had 1,104 total cases with 117 active cases and six deaths. On Dec. 24, the county had 979 total cases with 160 active cases and six deaths.