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Some Coastal Bend school districts postpone classroom return due to uptick in COVID-19 cases

Over the winter break teachers and staff members with Kingsville schools called to report that either them, or a close relative had contracted COVID-19

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In Kleberg County, schools such as Kingsville ISD, Driscoll, Freer, and Bishop are delaying the start of school, but other districts, like CCISD have decided to reopen. 

Kingsville schools were set to have students back in class on Wednesday, but now that has been pushed back to Jan.10. Superintendent Dr. Cissy Reynolds-Perez told 3News that over the weekend the district began getting an increasing number of phone calls from teachers and other staff members. They were saying that they were either positive for COVID-19 or someone in their family had come down with the virus during the winter break.

"As the numbers increased, we are from a smaller town and a lot of people are related," Reynolds-Perez said. "A lot of people gathered and the data shows it's only going to increase."

The Superintendent along with the school board decided to move the start of classes until Monday. Driscoll, Bishop and Freer were some of the other school districts which have also delayed classes because of the COVID-19 surge. Reynolds-Perez said it just made sense to pause the return to the classroom.

"We figured let's go ahead and move the start of school for students to Monday, and move the teacher workday to Thursday, and the PD till Friday," Reynolds-Perez said. "That would at least, from New Year's Day give us five or more days of kind of an incubation period to help stop the spread, and to allow people to deal with or rest, and like I said to help stop the spread."

According to Chief Instructional Support Officer for the district, Jennifer Arismendi CCISD opened as expected without any delays.

She explains that the district has an online portal where staff can report any COVID-19 symptoms or contacts. Arismendi said CCISD monitored the information during the break, and that along with the districts mitigation efforts were all taken into consideration before they re-opened the schools. She also said that the district can meet new CDC guidelines on masks.

"We can meet that expectation," Arismendi said. "We currently have, every campus has KN-95 mask on them, we also have an additional 125-thousand KN-95 masks we can deliver to campuses. We also have over 2 million disposable mask on hand."

Arismendi adds that the district will be looking at its attendance numbers for the first day of school. Officials will review the numbers to see if any changes need to be made. Arismendi said the district is cautiously optimistic. She also pointed out that the district began to start up vaccination clinics in elementary schools on this Monday and is also looking to hold more COVID testing events beginning next week.

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