Two classrooms of students at Bales Intermediate School in Friendswood ISD pivoted to virtual learning May 6 after more than 10% of the people in those classrooms tested positive for COVID-19, according to district officials and FISD’s COVID-19 dashboard.

As of the afternoon of May 6, there are 21 total active cases districtwide, 13 of them at Bales. The district moved to Level 3 of the four levels in its response protocol after crossing the 10% positivity threshold.

The affected classrooms will learn remotely for the remainder of the week, according to communication sent to Bales families.

While Level 3 status indicates “evidence of community spread within the classroom,” the positivity rate for the entire Bales campus is just under 2%, FISD’s Executive Director of Communications Dayna Owen said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper. A campus can remain open as long as the number of confirmed cases there does not exceed 5% of the population.

The Texas Education Agency caps the allowed number of virtual days at five in community spread scenarios, per FISD. Click here for more information about each level of the district’s COVID-19 response protocols.

A statement sent to Bales families May 5 indicated four Bales students, all of whom were on campus April 29, April 30 and May 4, were test-confirmed to have COVID-19. Teachers called parents to inform them of the pivot to virtual, Owen said via email.

Students in the two classrooms may return to school May 10 as long as they pass the COVID-19 Health Screening, per the email sent to Bales families. Any individuals found to have been in close contact with those with COVID-19 will be notified by the campus nurse to quarantine for 10 days.

Bales community members are asked to inform the nurse, Randi Pipes, at [email protected] or 281-482-8255 if they test positive for COVID-19. Questions and concerns can also be directed to Executive Director of Safety and Operations Erich Kreiter at [email protected].

The outbreak comes as FISD officials are preparing to make decisions about protocols for next school year. The board of trustees will discuss all options regarding virtual learning and masks for 2021-22 at its May 10 regular meeting.

“One thing we have learned is these policies are always subject to change,” Owen wrote.