Carroll ISD has no plans yet to fully switch to virtual lessons despite the rise in COVID-19 cases across schools in the state.

Carroll ISD Interim Superintendent Jeremy Lyon said while the district has seen a rise in the number of student and staff cases, it has also been closely monitoring every newly reported case as it continues to adhere to health and safety guidelines set by the state.

“The number of cases in the school district is definitely on the rise,” Lyon said. “We are in a position where we are simply going to watch what happens this week and try to do some things to make sure everyone is following the safety guidelines.”

The Carroll ISD COVID-19 dashboard currently reports 19 active staff cases and 43 active student cases. Since the start of the academic year Aug. 6, there have been 54 staff cases and 87 student cases.

Currently, the district is still enforcing the wearing of masks for all students over the age of 10 as well as maintaining social distancing. Contact tracing for whole classrooms is in place and deep cleaning is regularly performed.

While the district has made no concrete plans to switch all campuses back to only virtual lessons, the rise in cases may sway parents to enroll their child in the Dragon Virtual Academy.

“One of the things that we've seen is that the students have kind of settled on the model that they like, and if it's working academically for them, they, at this point, are likely to stay with it,” Lyon said.

While health protocols remain in place to limit the spread of the virus, it is difficult to know for sure how the virus is being transmitted among students and staff.

“I know there are others who have said that in-person instruction has proven to be safe and that all of these new cases are coming from community get-togethers and neighborhood interactions and that kind of thing,” Lyon said. “But the reality is that we don't know that that's the case. I think it's just a time where we have to be vigilant across the board.”

Lyon said if the state or county required districts to close again, Carroll ISD would be able to pivot quickly to the situation thanks to the Dragon Virtual Academy.

“One of the great lessons of this pandemic is that you have to be nimble on your feet. And so if I say we're not planning to pivot to virtual learning, 100%, on a Monday at two, I might have to say something else on a Friday at two o'clock because conditions have changed so dramatically,” he said. “And, you know, that's been one of the very difficult things about this is we are reacting to this situation that presents itself on a day-by-day basis.”

No school in Carroll ISD has had to close yet due to COVID-19 cases, but a few football games were canceled or rescheduled due to health and safety concerns.

“I am very concerned as an educator about the loss, for our kids, of what what we would all consider to be a normal educational experience. And so this decision to close schools or to pivot back to 100%-virtual is a health department decision that would be made for the safety and security of our kids. But it does come at a cost,” Lyon said.