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'I'm not very happy about it and it's completely irresponsible.' | Jim Wells Co. Judge speaks out on party that led to total Alice ISD closure

Students in Alice and Kingsville are returning to virtual learning after COVID-19 cases have forced the two districts to close campuses.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When it comes to new COVID-19 cases in Texas, the Coastal Bend ranks among the lowest in the state. While we're not the lowest, we are on the decline for hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

This is all good news, especially as cases and hospitalizations begin to climb across the state, but we're not in the clear just yet.

Our local health officials are urging everyone to remain diligent when it comes to preventative measures with the holidays approaching. 

As more area school districts begin to return to complete in-person learning, those measures continue to ring true after hundreds of students in the Alice and Kingsville ISDs were told to stay home today after several students tested positive for the virus.

3News caught up with the Jim Wells County Judge and the superintendent of Kingsville ISD about these issues.

“I'm not very happy about it and it's completely irresponsible and it's just, as far as these gatherings, they couldn't help themselves. I'm disappointed just like everybody else,” said Judge Juan Rodriguez after learning a reported large gathering led to the entire Alice ISD school district being forced to close.

Judge Rodriguez is not the only one speaking out tonight about the return to virtual learning for students both in Alice and Kingsville, parents also spoke with us.

“I don't think I’m going to send my kids back, I was reluctant to send them back, my kids begged because they are in sports and band and what not, so I’m probably not going to, they are going to have to sit this year out,” said concerned parent Mandy Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was among the more than 200 parents and students in line for COVID-19 testing at Memorial Stadium Thursday morning.  The event was in a partnership with the Alice Pediatric Clinic.

Rodriguez believes the Alice school district made the right call to temporarily close all campuses and return to virtual learning until October 30 after learning several students tested positive for the virus.

The district sent out a letter on Wednesday letting parents know about the cases at both William Adams Middle School and Alice High School.

The district learning a significant number of students attended a large party over the weekend and may have been exposed.

“I know a lot of people went, that is what kind of messed it up, people being selfish,” said student Arturo Lazo.

Meanwhile, 3 schools in Kingsville ISD also remain closed after tests came back positive for eight students.

Those campuses are Memorial Middle School, Harrel Elementary, and Gillett Intermediate.
District superintendent Dr. Cissy Reynolds-Perez spoke with us by phone.

“Being in classes with students when we find a positive test, we want to remove them, and diminish any possible contact,” said Dr. Perez.

Students in those schools will return to virtual learning for at least 10 days.
Dr. Perez says these cases will not interfere with other campuses moving forward with the district’s phase three return plan. That will begin Monday for any student who wants to return for face to face learning.

“In the surveys we have done with parents, it seems like half want to return and half want to do remote learning,” said Dr. Perez.

Tracking COVID-19 in Coastal Bend Counties:

Nueces County

Credit: KIII

Robstown ISD 

Credit: KIII
Credit: KIII

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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