Cook Children’s Fort Worth recently issued a public safety announcement following an increase in COVID-19 cases among children at an alarming rate.
The video PSA, which was provided by Cook Children’s Health Care System officials, stresses the importance of wearing a mask, keeping socially distanced and washing hands frequently.
“The message comes as cases of COVID-19 among local children increase at an alarming rate,” according to a release from Cook Children’s Fort Worth. “As of July 3, Cook Children’s has tested more than 6,500 children for the novel coronavirus and 317 have been positive. The majority of these cases have occurred in the past two weeks, with 31 positive cases recorded in the past 24 hours.”
The University Interscholastic League released specific guidelines for strength and conditioning programs on July 8, which states that all employees, parents, visitors and students ages 10 and over must wear face coverings when entering an area where UIL activities are taking place, but not while actively practicing or exercising. Students may access locker rooms and engage in drills that involve one or more students on offense against one or more students on defense beginning July 13.
As of Thursday morning, Weatherford ISD has had three student-athletes test positive for COVID-19.
“The safety of our students and staff is always our first priority. We closed the strength and conditioning program through July 17 out of an abundance of caution after we were notified of a third individual testing positive,” WISD Athletic Director Billy Mathis said. “The strength and conditioning program was already closed for the week of July 6-9, but with a rising number of positive cases in Parker County and throughout the state, we felt it was prudent to close this optional program for students for an additional week.”
Mathis said the program will be allowed to resume on July 20 following an 18-day closure.
WISD’s Blue Belles and marching band are expected to begin practicing on July 27.
“We have and will continue to follow the UIL health and safety guidelines for strength and conditioning programs. In addition, our custodial staff conducts a thorough cleaning before the program begins each day and coaches continue to sanitize throughout the practice,” Mathis said. “Students will wear masks when they are not actively exercising or practicing for band.”
Other schools, including Mineral Wells and Aledo, are following the UIL’s recommendations.
Mineral Wells last week announced that it was shutting down all camps, including inside ones, until July 13, to help reduce risk of exposure and provide an opportunity for staff to reevaluate and make informed decisions moving forward.
Aledo ISD Superintendent Susan K. Bohn said the district has not been made aware of any students testing positive for coronavirus.
“Summer school and extended school year participants are wearing face coverings; we have provided face shields to some of our younger students and employees,” Bohn said. “Effective July 8, UIL guidance for off-season activities, including summer strength and conditioning and marching band activities, requires that employees, parents, visitors and students 10 years of age or older must wear face coverings or face shields upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively practicing or exercising.”
AISD summer activities include summer school for pre-k through second grade and extended school year for special education students as well as sport-specific instruction and strength and conditioning, marching band, dance and cheerleading.
“Students, teachers and any contracted employee working with the district must have their temperature taken and fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire before participating. Classrooms are set up for social distancing and we have extra cleaning protocols in place in addition to our regular cleaning routines,” Bohn said. “The district encourages frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing for all students, teachers and contracted employees. Aledo ISD has instituted extra health and safety protocols on our bus transportation, as well, with regular disinfecting of our buses and our bus drivers wearing face shields. We are following all TEA and UIL guidelines for summer programs.”
Mathis detailed WISD’s process when a student tests positive for COVID-19.
“Once we are notified, we immediately determine those students who had direct contact with this individual and send a specific notification message to their families. As a precaution, we also send a general notification message to the families of students participating in the strength and conditioning program who did no have direct contact with the individual who tested positive,” Mathis said. “Custodial staff also conducts multiple deep cleanings of facilities in addition to their daily cleaning.”
To review the guidelines issues by UIL, visit uiltexas.org or visit school district websites.