School districts around North Texas have closed classrooms, and in some cases campuses, as COVID-19 numbers continue to increase.
But so far Little Elm ISD hasn’t had to do either.
Thursday, Superintendent Daniel Gallagher updated families on how the district has responded to the pandemic in recent weeks and said there are no plans to close classrooms or campuses.
Gallagher said at last count there were 17 active cases of COVID-19 among students and that there are more than 8,100 students in the district, which equates to less than a half of 1 percent of active cases.
“The cases are not spreading like what people thought they might spread,” Gallagher said. “Of course one case is too many, and we don’t want that. But I attribute that to the protocols we have put in place.”
Gallagher said he visited a campus recently for National Signing Day and noticed that all students were taking the necessary precautions.
“That’s something that impresses me, that the kids are following the protocols, our staff members … whether it’s face coverings, desk shields, hand sanitizers, our maintenance department of demisting in the evenings,” Gallagher said. “We’ve really done a good job in Little Elm ISD of keeping our kids and our staff healthy and really not seeing large numbers of students and staff members get COVID.”
Toni Nelson, health coordinator for LEISD, also updated the community on the process the district goes through when a student tests positive for COVID-19, which she said is in line with state health and CDC guidelines.
Nelson said when the district receives a call from a parent that their child has tested positive district health officials will find out who that student was around without a mask on, within 6 feet and for more than 15 minutes.
Officials then talk to the student’s teachers to find out who may have come in contact with that student.
Nelson said the conversation even reaches the bus barn, which can provide a video to help determine which students were near the infected student and who was and was not wearing a mask at the time.
Nelson said the students who have been in close contact with an infected student are then quarantined and sent home and are instructed how to access their alternative learning options. She said parents of students in other classes then receive a letter updating them on the situation but noting that their student was not in close contact.
Gallagher reminded parents and students to stay safe during the upcoming Thanksgiving break and continue to follow the protocols.
“Things are going very well in Little Elm ISD, and I am proud of everyone,” Gallagher said.
Should the district deem it necessary to temporary shut down in-person classes, students will use the same schedule at home as they do for in-person classes, the district stated on its website.
Students would have a mix of synchronous times on Zoom, where they would receive live instruction from their teacher, and asynchronous times, when they would work on their assignments independently. Campus principals would communicate with parents their campus schedule during a time of closure.
For more information on the district’s “flip plan” go to littleelmisd.net/Page/7020.