Calhoun County Independent School District has been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in regards to keeping students and staff safe and healthy.
In a recent update when writing this story, according to the New York Times, there are currently 30 cases of coronavirus in the state of Texas and more than 1000 cases in the United States.
CCISD Superintendent Larry Nichols and Assistant Superintendent Kelly Taylor spoke to the Wave about monitoring the coronavirus and what plans the district have in place to inform students, parents, and staff.
“What we’ve been doing is we’ve been updating our principals,” Taylor said. “Based on the information that we’re receiving from local health officials and any information that we would need to put out to parents will be placed on our websites.”
With Spring Break around the corner for CCISD students and staff, school districts in North Texas (Plano, Grapevine-Colleyville, Coppell and Frisco ISDs) asked students and their district staffs, who travel to countries that are hit the hardest by the virus, to self-quarantine upon their return, as stated in an NBCDFW article.
Nichols told the Wave the district doesn’t have plans to do what the other districts are doing at the current time.
“If we hear that someone came out, we would obviously check the temperatures of the students coming back or teachers coming back.”
Taylor stated that she wants to champion the CCISD staff for practicing good hygiene.
Taylor said if there is a family with any special circumstances or concern, they can call the district office.
The district’s custodians have been preparing for the virus, and Taylor said they have been using “medical-grade cleaners” and a “multi-layered approach” when cleaning.
“Our head custodians have been trained personally on which products to use, what they are used fo,r and how to appropriately apply them,” Taylor said. “So we can have the safest possible campus environment.”
The district is currently keeping updated on the status of the coronavirus. Nichols said he attended a local health orientation on Tuesday and heard from local organizations, governmental organizations, and hospitals, and he added they shared CCISD’s plans on the virus.
“We try to share the thought on where we are at the current, and let them ask us questions,” Nichols said. “So we shared information with our local health officials and continue to do so.”
In an example from a Montgomery ISD press release about the coronavirus, given by Taylor to the Wave, MISD has set three levels if there are reported cases.
In the Level Three scenario, consideration of campus closure from county health organization and cancellation of school events and school rentals, traveling and events, and cleaning of areas was listed by Montgomery ISD.
Nichols said Calhoun ISD has a plan if “in case” there is a case of coronavirus, the district will be directed by the state at “some point in the future to discontinue classroom instruction”.
“We’re preparing for remote learning experiences for our students so that if and when that occurred, we would have those geared up,” Nichols said.
Nichols said students in sixth through 12th grades will have Chromebooks and one-on-one computing through Google Classroom, and teachers can instruct them remotely.
Elementary school students will get a packet of information if they don’t have one-on-one computing, Nichols said.
“The point is we’re making plans. We don’t have those finished; certainly, they are not perfected,” Nichols said. “But we’re making plans to be able to that, when and if, hopefully not. When and if some directive might come forward.”
The district will continue to monitor the latest information about the virus from the health department and the state, Nichols said.
Nichols added that the district has ordered forehead thermometers and will have those available at the front offices on CCISD campuses to check the temperatures of students and staff.
One tip to inform students and staff is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, which is recommended by the Center for Disease Control, Taylor said, and keep hands away from the face.