COVID surge causes UISD to return to remote learning

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 11:30 AM CST
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - The first week of the new semester became quite a challenge as the city and county saw coronavirus cases surge in our area.

During the first days of school, UISD saw many staff and students stay home after testing positive due to COVID-19; as a result, the district made the decision to keep everyone home for a week in hopes of preventing the spread of the virus.

After looking at the numbers, UISD voted on a recommendation to have students remote learning for a week.

UISD Board President Ramiro Veliz says it wasn’t a decision that was voted upon by the board, it was a recommendation by the superintendent from schools using his authority that he has, and the board of trustees has full support.”

Within just a week of school, Veliz says they have seen a surge of cases district wide.

Veliz says, “We’re seeing higher numbers than anticipated. We continue to daily test through our campuses, and we have seen the numbers go up and up of students and staff.”

Now there is more than 1,600 active student positive cases in the district. There are over 700 employee positive cases.  UISD Associate Superintendent for Student Services Mike Garza says they continue to test students and staff daily.

He says they were prepared for the start of the semester with 18,000 testing kits.

Garza says, “We have 7,000 employees so you can just imagine that just one round of testing depleted the inventory so what we ended up approving today is a bid so we can buy some additional test kits.”

Garza says that they will purchase 30,000 kits additionally they are hoping to get more testing kits.

However, these high positive numbers have reflected in the classrooms district wide.

They have had a staff shortage and they hope that by having this online learning this will help being teachers back.

Teachers have also been approved up to 20 days of sick paid time but with proof of vaccination.

For those wondering if the surge will cause a shutdown district wide; Garza assures there are no plans on it.

Garza says, “At no time did the superintendent or even our board have the thought of closing down completely where there is no interaction no instruction, we want to make sure that there is continuous instruction.”

Board members said this was a very difficult decision to make but they had to keep the safety of its students and staff in mind.

They are hoping that by having these measures in place they will have enough staff to make a regular school day happen.

A video in English and Spanish has been created to help parents become more familiar with online learning.

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