CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As Corpus Christi Independent School District students, parents, and teachers wake up for the second day of classes for the 2021-2022 school year, the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant looms.
The Corpus Christi Independent School District has reported 55 total COVID-19 cases among students and staff after the first day of classes. 49 of those cases are among students and six are among staff. Four of those staff are defined as non-campus staff.
It is unclear if all of these students and staff attended school on the first day of classes.
The highest total case count by school is 5 cases, reported at both Adkins Middle School and Mary Carroll High School. A chart on the district's website includes all test-confirmed positive COVID-19 results that have been reported to the district since the beginning of the school year on August 10. District officials will post updates at the end of each business day, with Monday figures incorporating cases confirmed over the weekend, and holiday numbers incorporated on the next business day.
On the first day of school, Corpus Christi Independent School District Deputy Superintendent Kimberly James told KRIS 6 News that 34,939 students physically checked in on their home campuses.
James said this is a testament to the resilience of the district's students, staff, and campus leaders and the faith of our parents in our campuses.
KRIS 6 News anchor Katia Uriarte spoke with CCISD Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez about the return to school during the ongoing pandemic.
When asked about whether CCISD would consider taking actions similar to Houston and Dallas and enforce mask mandates despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates, Hernandez said they would consider it.
CCISD Superintendent: District would consider defying Abbott's mask mandate ban
"If we saw that there was a situation where even what we have in place is not addressing it like we need it to, then we certainly would move closer to the consideration of doing what they have done in Houston and Dallas," said Hernandez.
Dallas ISD officials announced Monday morning that they will require students and teachers to wear masks on campus. Houston ISD’s superintendent, Millard House II, has said he wants to issue a mandate, too.
Hernandez said last week that virtual learning would be among the options if there was a COVID-19 outbreak in the schools.
This statement is important because most districts – including CCISD – have rejected a remote option for all students to start this school year due in part because the state will not compensate schools for virtual learning. Today was also the first time Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez or the district has addressed virtual options beyond that. For example, the only mention of remote learning in CCISD’s proposed reopening plan is for field trips, which will be virtual this year.
Speaking outside the CCISD convocation at American Bank Center earlier that day, Hernandez said the district discussed virtual learning as a standard option to start the year, but when it didn’t pass the legislature they abandoned the idea.
“What I would say that if it came to a point that the numbers were that alarming and we would need to re-evaluate we would certainly take a look at it at that time,” he said.
As all students are welcomed back to campus for in-person instruction Tuesday, Corpus Christi ISD said it has plans to keep students and staff safe.
The school district posted a return-to-in-person-instruction and continuity-of-services plan on its website last week outlining COVID-19 protocols for students and staff displaying COVID-19 symptoms, self-screenings, social distancing, and wearing a mask.
Many students, teachers, and parents thought returning to school this year would be a return to normalcy. But with the Delta variant spreading at record rates, especially among the unvaccinated, many are looking for safer options for schooling this fall.
Luckily, there are options in Texas.
The Texas Education Agency has a list called the Texas Virtual School Network, which includes seven fully virtual schools that are accredited by the TEA and open for enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year.
All these options are fully accredited by the TEA and required to participate in state testing like the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, STAAR exams, and End of Course Assessments (EOCs), whenever applicable.