Dripping Springs ISD examines campus health needs for possible in-person 2020-21 classes

A screen grab from the DSISD board of trustees meeting
The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees met May 18, 2020. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

The Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees met May 18, 2020. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

Dripping Springs ISD has not made official decisions about the in-person status of classes for summer school or the regular 2020-21 school year, but Dripping Springs High School nurse Vickie Metzgar said district health services are already preparing campuses for the possibility of students returning to campus as the coronavirus threat continues.

In a May 18 presentation to DSISD trustees, Metzgar listed precautions for students’ return this fall, including making sure that each school has a space to isolate individuals who may show symptoms until they can be picked up and treated off campus. For Dripping Springs Middle School and Dripping Springs Elementary School campuses, this means working to quickly erect new walls to cordon off such a space.

Additionally, Metzger said the district would need to reevaluate its current policy of encouraging students who have been sick to return to school after 24 hours without a fever. Instead, she recommended ramping up the requirement to 72 hours. She also said parents and staff would need to be vigilant of potential coronavirus symptoms, especially since younger children are slow to show major symptoms.

“Realistically, if someone has a cough and a fever, we have to assume that it’s COVID,” Metzger said.

District health services will get to test some precautions through an upcoming large, social-distanced event—Dripping Springs High School graduation, which is scheduled for June 19. The district has already ordered a shipment of infrared, no-touch thermometers for the occasion, Metzger said, before which all guests will have their temperatures taken.

By and large, Metzger said, hand washing and social distancing remain the best options for mitigating the spread of coronavirus, although tools like the thermometers are important. However, she said she will wait for more guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before making final recommendations to the board of trustees and administrators.
By Olivia Aldridge

Multi-Platform Journalist

Olivia hosts and produces Community Impact Newspaper's podcasts, The Austin Breakdown, The Houston Breakdown and The DFW Breakdown. She launched the podcasts after nearly three years as a reporter for the newspaper, covering public health, business, development and Travis County government for the Central Austin edition. Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas.