HARLETON — Harleton ISD Superintendent Jay Ratcliff said Monday the district’s high school campus only will switch to virtual learning off campus for the remainder of this week, due to a high number of staff members out on COVID-19 quarantine.
“As of right now, we have 11 staff quarantined at our high school campus,” Ratcliff said. “Staff includes custodial workers, teachers, para-professionals, librarians, everyone on staff. Not all 11 of those out on quarantine are positive COVID-19 cases, it just means they were determined to have been in contact with someone COVID-19 positive and must quarantine.”
Ratcliff said while Harleton High School currently has 11 staff members quarantined, it has 55 high school students out on quarantine.
“The Texas Education Agency is very specific about when a district is allowed to close a campus because in Texas, students have a right to go to school. TEA requires us to meet specific criteria to close a campus and switch to virtual learning and that criteria is based on staff members, not students, that are out on quarantine.”
Harleton High School students were still on Thanksgiving break on Monday and will begin classes again today, from home online, through Friday when the district will re-assess.
Ratcliff said most of the staff members out on quarantine should finish the required quarantine time by Dec. 7, allowing the campus to return to in classroom teaching.
Ratcliff said teachers not out on quarantine on Monday were at the campus, preparing virtual lessons for their students.
All high school extra-curricular activities have also been canceled for this week.
Harleton Junior High School and Elementary School will continue to meet in the classroom as normal.
“We currently have five staff members in quarantine at our junior high/elementary campus and 20 students in quarantine, out of nearly 500 students and 100 staff members, so thankfully, we haven’t seen the numbers at that campus that we have seen at the high school,” Ratcliff said.
Harleton ISD, with the help of Harrison County, purchased Aerus air purifying machines which have been installed throughout the district’s buildings and more are on the way, Ratcliff said.
“We are very blessed here to have a low number of positive cases this year and to have our air purification systems in all of our classrooms,” Ratcliff said. “Those units ionize the air and kill airborne bacteria and also sanitize surfaces throughout the night. We have had them running since Nov. 20 when school let out for Thanksgiving break.”
Ratcliff said further updates will continue to be posted in the coming days on the district’s website www.harletonisd.net and Facebook page www.facebook.com/HarletonISD as well as the district’s call out system to parents and letters sent home via students.
Marshall ISD students returned to the classroom at all campuses on Monday, following their Thanksgiving break and the district reported 14 new, positive COVID-19 cases confirmed during the break, as well as 24 recoveries.
“We have 24 recoveries in the district, including 13 at Marshall High School, six at Marshall Junior High School, and one each at Sam Houston Elementary School, William B. Travis Elementary School, Marshall Early Graduation School, the Learning Resource Center and our Transportation Department,” Marshall ISD spokesman David Weaver said Monday. “We are adding 14 new positive cases from over the Thanksgiving break.”
The new numbers brings the district to 23 active cases.
“Beginning today, we will also include the total number of district staff and students who are in quarantine either due to a positive test or due to having been in close contact with a positive test. It is important to emphasize that these figures are not all positive cases; just those who have been deemed to be in close contact per criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Texas Education Agency. We will also include the total percentage of staff and students who are currently in quarantine,” Weaver said. “As of (Monday afternoon), we have 24 staff members (3 percent) in quarantine, and 71 students (1 percent) in quarantine.”