McKinney ISD announced around 2 p.m. Dec. 10 that it will close Reuben Johnson Elementary School’s campus starting Dec. 11 until Jan. 5 due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.
Chief Communications Officer Cody Cunningham said that 35% of staff on campus have either been in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive themselves or are in quarantine.
As of Dec. 4, Cunningham said MISD was not aware of a significant issue at the school. That changed early this week after students and staff returned to school after the weekend.
“This week ... we saw a high number of teachers who were out,” Cunningham said. “Not necessarily because they tested positive but because they were in close contact with someone who tested positive.”
Cunningham said the decision was made Dec. 10, as the district was made aware of the growing number of cases. “That number really took off between yesterday and today,” he said. "It would not be responsible for us to continue in-person learning.”
Cunningham added no other MISD campuses were "at risk of being closed" right now, but that this "changes from week to week."
The district sent a letter Dec. 7 to parents at Reuben Johnson Elementary to inform them that positive COVID-19 cases and presumptive cases were increasing on campus.
An announcement about the closure was sent to affected families Dec. 10 via email and phone call. Families will receive information from the campus related to virtual learning instruction.
With the school being temporarily closed, Cunningham added that affected families might be worried about feeding their children: in the 2019-20 school year, 32.83% of MISD students qualified for free or reduced lunch, per the Texas Education Agency.
Cunningham said the district will continue to provide free lunch to students from Reuben Johnson Elementary. Meal pickup will be available at McNeil Elementary, 3650 Hardin Blvd.
“Those kids who ... rely on those meals, we want to make sure they still have access to those,” Cunningham said.