Hays CISD pushes Abbott for higher priority for COVID-19 vaccinations

At the Dec. 14 board meeting, Superintendent Eric Wright announced the district's policy on staff vaccinations and PPE recommendations for the spring semester. (Community Impact staff)
At the Dec. 14 board meeting, Superintendent Eric Wright announced the district's policy on staff vaccinations and PPE recommendations for the spring semester. (Community Impact staff)

At the Dec. 14 board meeting, Superintendent Eric Wright announced the district's policy on staff vaccinations and PPE recommendations for the spring semester. (Community Impact staff)

During its Dec. 14 meeting, the Hays CISD board of trustees unanimously passed a resolution requesting for Gov. Greg Abbott to add public school district personnel to the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel's definition of essential front-line workers prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The panel is responsible for developing and providing vaccine distribution strategies and recommendations to Texas Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. Based on the panel's recommendations, the first batch of Pfizer vaccines—224,250 doses—was distributed to 34 counties this week. Seton Medical Center in the city of Kyle was set to receive 975 doses.

Additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as doses of the Moderna vaccine, are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

"It is important to make sure that our employees are put on the highest tier possible as well for receiving this vaccine this allocation, and because currently they are not on the highest level or in the top three," HCISD Board President Esperanza Orosco said. "This is something that is being advocated throughout our state."

The resolution's justifications include the impact district employees have on the care, education and nourishment of students, as well as the role they play in the health and safety of communities.


According to Superintendent Eric Wright, HCISD staff will be required to take the vaccine "unless they have a medical reason for not taking it, or if they have a conscientious objection."

During HCISD's board meeting, Wright said the overall rate of infection was low within the district, but he also noted that the week of Dec. 7 saw the largest number of new cases among staff and students to date, with 22 students and 22 staff members reporting positive tests.

"You can see that we probably didn't do a great job, around Thanksgiving holidays, of social distancing, and so we've had a little bit more spread," Wright said. "We know that this is likely to happen again with Christmas and with New Year's Eve coming."

A total of 173 cases—71 staffers and 102 students—have been reported by the district to date. HCISD has 20,436 students as of Dec. 13, and it had roughly 2,500 employees in 2019.

As a contingency plan for further spread of the coronavirus over the holidays, Wright said it would be recommended that HCISD employees visiting or working on a district campus to wear a face shield in addition to a mask.

"That will help us because if they have a mask and a shield on, then we will not have to ask those individuals to quarantine should they come into close contact with a positive case," Savoy told board members.

Wright said new guidelines from TEA and UIL will provide greater flexibility with quarantine protocols beginning Jan. 4.

Under the new guidelines, individuals testing positive for the virus may end their quarantine after 10 days without a test or after seven days with a negative test, according to Wright.

Wright told the board he would send a letter detailing the new policies later this week.
By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.


MOST RECENT

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

JAMS Music owner Ace Pepper restrings an acoustic guitar at his shop on Aquarena Springs Drive. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
JAMS Music in San Marcos to close by end of April

Owner Ace Pepper, who also plays in several local bands and works as a sound engineer, said the company that owns the building he leases is selling the property, and is not sure if he will continue his guitar shop at another location.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Courtesy Oldham Family Orthodontics
Oldham Family Orthodontics now open in Kyle

The practice provides comprehensive orthodontic treatment of braces and Invisalign to children and adults of all ages

A memorial for Officer Justin Putnam will be held April 18 at Five Mile Dam Park's soccer complex. (Courtesy city of San Marcos)
Memorial to be held for slain San Marcos officer

A memorial for Officer Justin Putnam will be held April 18 at Five Mile Dam Park's soccer complex.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Zoi Market plans to open its new store location April 15. (Courtesy Zoi Market)
Zoi Market is relocating to a larger space in Buda

Zoi Market's new location features a juice bar and fresh meals.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Courtesy Stonebound Treasures
8 new businesses now open in San Marcos

Several new businesses have opened recently in San Marcos.

Courtesy Memorial Mini Golf and Museum
7 businesses now open or coming soon to Buda and Kyle

Several new businesses are either now open or are coming soon in the Buda and Kyle area.

Other races in Hays County include those for SMCISD, HCISD and a municipal utility district in Buda. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
San Marcos, Buda and Kyle election guide for May features multimillion dollar HCISD bond

The May 1 election throughout Hays County features several election for the San Marcos CISD and Hays CISD, as well as for board members of two municipal utility districts. Also looming large on the ballot is a bond initiative from HCISD proposing roughly $238 million in projects.