The rise in cases throughout the district is directly tied to holiday travel and activity, not to CCISD hallways, Superintendent Eric Williams said during a Jan. 25 board of trustees meeting. Case counts slowly rose as students returned to school in January, and the district reported 171 cases Jan. 17, its highest number of active cases to date.
However, as Galveston County reports new positive cases by the hundreds each day, CCISD’s case counts are now trending down: The number of active cases dipped into the 140-150 range the week of Jan. 25, and 125 cases are active as of Feb. 1.
Two elementary school campuses—Brookwood and Ross—were operating under Stage 3 of the district's response protocol during the week of Jan. 25, Williams said. Stage 3 means at least 10% of the people in a specific area on each campus are considered to have an active case of the coronavirus.
Per CCISD guidelines, impacted students and teachers moved to a school-to-home model and were advised to self-quarantine, per Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Neither campus has more than five active cases as of Feb. 1.
Clear Springs High School has the highest number of active cases per campus at 25. Clear Springs will resume its basketball program Feb. 1—as will all intermediate schools—after the programs were suspended for two weeks starting Jan. 18. The suspension decision was made based on the number of active cases, Williams said.
Other business: enrollment update, 2021-22 plans
The district saw an uptick in students returning to in-person instruction after the holiday break. About three in every four students are now engaged in brick-and-mortar instruction; 30,700 students have returned to in-person schooling, and 10,101 remain online using Clear Connections, Williams said Jan. 25.
As more students return to campuses, staff must shift gears in some aspects to accommodate the increasing on-campus population, and Williams thanked community members for bearing with the district as staffing arrangements are made.
“We appreciate the community’s patience as we work to fully staff transportation and our classrooms,” he said.
District leaders are working to provide additional opportunities for CCISD’s youngest learners in prekindergarten and kindergarten, he added, and the marketing team launched a new website to provide a direct avenue for new enrollment.
Planning for the next school year is in the works, and the existence of an online education platform depends in large part on whether virtual learning will be funded by the Texas Legislature, Williams said.
Until the decision is definitively made at a state level, the district is working under the assumption that virtual education is not going away, he said. District leaders are collecting feedback from Clear Connections teachers, hosting virtual focus groups and moderating virtual discussion boards to gain a full picture of the successes and challenges of the 2020-21 school year.