During a Sept. 30 virtual update, Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null stated that while CISD faculty and teachers are dedicated to catching up students academically, they are also working to recover students socially.
Null said the 2018-19 school year was the last regularly scheduled, in-person school year for CISD. He said that students may face challenges with adjusting to new responsibilities, behavior expectations and social constructs because of the pandemic.
“There’s so much that our teachers need to instill into our students about not only how to handle the academic world, but even the social world,” Null said during the update.
Null asked parents and guardians speak to their students about behavior, referencing behavioral issues on campuses.
According to Null, the district is seeing CISD students take part in a “Tik-Tok challenge.”
Null said the challenges vary from month to month but consist of students participating in a variety of illegal activities, such as theft and assault.
During the virtual update, Null stated that campuses did experience issues in September, and he asked that parents discuss behavior with their children.
“While we don’t want to criminalize children’s behavior, if children act out in a way that is criminal, then we have to treat it that way, and we will. We won’t tolerate [students] destroying our buildings,” Null said.
Null said the September challenge was to damage school restrooms. He warned that students who participate in the October challenge will face serious consequences.
“If your child gets involved in any of those things then absolutely they will face school consequences and potentially criminal, legal [consequences] as well,” Null said. “... It’s not funny at all.”
Null said the district is actively working to help students improve socially and adjust to understanding responsibilities and behavior expectations.
“We’ve seen it slow down. I hope that this is a phase that has moved on,” Null said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had some students that have gotten themselves into somewhat major trouble, and sadly enough, I think sometimes it does take that example being set of folks getting in trouble before all kids will realize that you can’t behave that way.”
District sees active COVID-19 cases fall
Null provided a COVID-19 update during the virtual meeting.
Null said the district’s COVID-19 cases peaked during the third week of school with 1,497 positive active student cases and 176 employee cases.
Over 3,000 students were in isolation Aug. 27, Null said. As of Sept. 30, 371 students were isolated. Fewer employees were isolated Sept. 30 than any previous day during the 2021-22 school year.
Null announced the district will lower the COVID-19 safety alert level from Level 4 to 3. Safety Alert 3 allows for more in-person events and limited visitors in the building.
Null credited the decline in cases to students staying home when feeling ill.
“We were very intentional about keeping sick kids at home, and it’s helped us to kind of end that cycle of our numbers skyrocketing,” Null said. And so today, we’re seeing attendance back in the 94%-95% range, which is really close to normal for us.”
During the update, Null said the district will begin implementing campus air protection systems that kill COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens, such as influenza, strep throat and chicken pox, and air pollutants such as allergens and mold.
"[There's] so much to be optimistic about as we take one step carefully here to open up a little more," Null said.