Utopia closes school, Uvalde logs new cases

There has been COVID-19 positivity affecting two area school districts this week, including Utopia and Uvalde, with each district enacting different containment protocols.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District announced a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member at Flores Elementary on Wednesday.

The staff member and classroom teachers deemed close contact have been quarantined, officials said, following advisement from local health authority Dr. Jared Reading.

“The students were not exposed to a degree to be deemed close contact and will not be quarantined,” wrote UCISD Superintendent Hal Harrell in a letter to families and staff.

The following day, district officials reported that a virtual learner who is a student-athlete at Morales Junior High tested positive for COVID-19 and, in a letter to families, the district says it had instructed those who had close contact with the individual to quarantine. This is the 15th case logged since on-campus activity resumed Aug. 3.

Before these two cases, the last positive case at Uvalde CISD was reported at Morales Junior High School for the week of Sept. 21-27.

Utopia ISD announced campus closures through Tuesday, Oct. 28, following a confirmed case among an individual in the Utopia community who attended a Utopia volleyball game on the Utopia campus.

“…In an effort to prevent any spread of the virus, we will be closing school and suspending all school activities beginning today at 2:45 p.m.,” reads a a notice posted to the district website on Thursday afternoon.

In a follow-up email, Derry said there were approximately 60 individuals in attendance at the volleyball game, and the person who tested positive was reported to have worn a mask during the game.

Derry said by closing the campus on Friday, the custodial staff had the opportunity to perform a deep and thorough cleaning. The district had previously scheduled Oct. 26 as a school holiday.

He said the district notified local health authority Jared Reading of the precautions being taken.

According to Texas Health and Human Services school-reported COVID-19 cases data, there have been 21,013 positive cases of COVID-19 among teachers and students in Texas as of Oct 18.

The cumulative report categorizes the case counts by grade level, per district, but does not report the death rate for students and staff.