THREE RIVERS, Texas — A group of parents from Three Rivers ISD are expressing frustration after they were informed of a second grade teacher testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. That teacher has been in quarantine since Nov. 5, Les Dragon, the district’s superintendent said.
While the school notified parents of first and second graders Thursday morning and requested that they not return so classrooms could be deep-cleaned, Veronica Carr said she was surprised that the elementary school — and even the high school nearby — didn’t close entirely.
“Why those two grades — why not the whole school?” Carr said. “They should’ve just remained closed, sent everybody home yesterday. They could’ve had Friday, Monday to deep clean those two days or even through the weekend.”
Carr also saw a problem with how siblings of first and second graders within the school could still potentially further spread the virus by not having a complete shutdown.
Parent Lizette Carbajal was walking home with two of her children after the school had an early release Friday. One of her children, however stayed at home due to the closure for first and second graders.
“I just wish they would have canceled the whole elementary and sanitized everything and then let them go back to school, but I mean I understand, you know, it’s kind of hard with everything going on,” Carbajal said, later mentioning the importance of in-person learning. “It’s better than being in school than actually at home, because at home — they’re not learning anything.”
Superintendent Dragon defends the district’s decision, saying that their response was actually greater than what was required but was done in an abundance of caution.
“(Closing the entire school) was considered,” Dragon said. “But again, with our mitigation plan, you look at what are your potential areas of possible spread. And so, it was really rational of us since first and second grade do spend time in the hallways when they change classes … and they also have P.E. together. That was a natural group, or groups that we should get out of here for a couple of days.”
Dragon said the district has made COVID precautions a priority so much so that they are starting to be held back in other areas.
“We are spending more time on COVID protocols than rather some of the things, kind of put on the back burner such as academics,” he said. “We’re doing the best that we can in working hand-in-hand with our Live Oak county health department and things from the CDC to keep the place running.”
Dragon said Three Rivers ISD has 570 students. Of that amount, their elementary school has about 280 to 300 students.
According to the district’s website, their secondary campus had its second positive COVID-student case on Thursday. That student is to be recovering at home and in quarantine.
“The Live Oak County Health Department has been notified, and the building was thoroughly cleaned afterwards,” the district posting said. “If you have any questions, contact campus administration, Nurse Ernest Means, and/or the Live Oak County Health Department. We will continue to keep our community updated to the best of our ability.”