Less than two weeks after the start of the school year, Clear Creek ISD officials moved the district up a stage in its health mitigation protocols due to a rise in COVID-19 infections and quarantines.

The district is monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases as well as absences due to illness and self-reported quarantine, Superintendent Eric Williams announced in an Aug. 27 news release. In accordance with CCISD's protocols, the district moved to Stage 3—the mitigation stage—due to a community outbreak of COVID-19 and the number of active cases districtwide being above 1% of the student and staff population, per the release.

"Clear Creek ISD will remain open for learning," Williams said in the release. "Thank you for your patience and understanding."

Attendance, which is the third indicator for moving from Stage 4 to Stage 3, remains within the historical range, per the release. The district's protocols are broken into five stages; Stage 4 is the monitoring stage and Stage 5 is normal operations. Click here to read more about the distinctions between stages.

CCISD leaders put various additional measures in place to respond to COVID-19, per the release. These include:

  • Increased pandemic cleaning across campuses;

  • Upgraded air filters systemwide to capture smaller respiratory droplets;

  • Extending air conditioning run times to provide additional air exchanges throughout the day;

  • If a case cluster is identified, moving elementary classrooms to a temporary school-to-home learning;

  • Making face coverings more visibly prominent in classrooms and common areas;

  • Reopening the form for parents to indicate whether their child is required to wear a face covering, as this will allow campus staff to monitor the use of face coverings;

  • Having all schools reassess instructional settings, classroom seating arrangements, recess patterns and cafeteria spaces to provide as much distance as possible; and

  • As practicable, making alternate plans for meetings and some school-based events—this could mean holding events virtually, outdoors or temporarily postponing them.

On Aug. 19, the Texas Education Agency issued public health guidance for school districts indicating that ISDs may only exclude students from a school setting if they have tested positive for the virus or are exhibiting symptoms of illness. In accordance with these directives, if a CCISD student is determined to be a close contact and is not exhibiting signs of illness, it is up to the parent or guardian to determine whether to keep their student home.

District families are encouraged to consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for close contacts, especially if the person with COVID-19 is someone within the home and the student has not been fully vaccinated, per the release.

The district will launch remote teleconferencing as early as Sept. 7, per the release, to support continuity of instruction for any students temporarily at home due to illness or quarantine. This option will be available for core subjects in all grade levels based on an hourly program schedule; more details will be released at noon Sept. 1 through a livestream on www.ccisd.net/live and updated on www.ccisd.net.

The deadline to apply for CCISD's full-time virtual learning program is 11:59 p.m. Aug. 28. The program, which is contingent on legislative funding, is open to kindergarten through sixth grade students, since this age group is not eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

District leaders answered questions and gave updates Aug. 23 about the health and safety protocols. Click here to read more, and click here to read about the CCISD community debate around mask mandate.