HOUSTON – Houston Schools have been back in person for over two weeks, and the numbers are trending favorably for them at the moment.
When the decision was made to go virtual for two weeks, it was out of an abundance of caution, as conditions were beginning to point to a potential outbreak situation, so they went virtual in hopes of hitting the metaphorical reset button, and it seems to have done the trick.
“I do see some movement in the direction that we wanted it to go,” said Superintendent John Ellison. “Before virtual, it was everyday that we were creeping a little bit more and more towards the edge, and I think this kind of did what we needed to do and reset us. Actually, instead of going up, right now, it appears to be dropping slightly and we are praying that continues.”
The district wide numbers, as of 11 a.m. on Friday, Sep. 17, were as stands:
23 positive students
48 students quarantines
1 positive staff member
0 staff quarantines
Before virtual, Ellison said that a majority of cases that were reported could be traced to outside of school contact, however, in the days leading up to the decision, there began to, at least appear, to be transmission in the classroom, which is when the virtual became necessary to prevent an outbreak.
“One of the driving factors of when I made the decision to go virtual in Houston, for the first three day period, was up until the days leading up to that, you could look at our traffic sheet and tell almost every positive case was coming from the outside in, but starting at about the Friday before we went virtual, I started seeing cases that appeared to be spread within classrooms. I had never seen it transmit where it looked like it was transmitting in class as much as it had started to right then.”
However, it seems to be another aspect that was reset with the virtual.
“That seems to be back. I looked and I didn't see any that we could track to within a classroom, it all looked like outside transmission.”
However, the schools are not abandoning the mask requirements yet, again, out of caution.
Right now, they are keeping the requirement for all students and staff to wear masks while indoors or on school buses through Sep. 30, at which point they will reevaluate the situation and numbers to see where they stand.
Ellison said that the last thing they wanted to do was to remove the requirement too soon, and thrust the school right back into virtual.
“The need for masks will be evaluated each week based on the current data from within our schools.”
The requirement is for the entire district, Houston and Houlka.