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COVID continues to run amuck at the schools

This is our reality.

Students in Texas public schools are facing another year upturned by COVID-19 as the highly contagious delta variant spreads, mask mandates are inconsistent and children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated against the virus.

Less than two months into this school year, the number of reported coronavirus cases among students has surpassed the total from the entire 2020-21 school year. Schools are prohibited from taking precautions such as requiring masks, though some are fighting the governor’s order banning mask mandates. Far more students are on campus, since most districts do not have a remote learning option.


State data on school cases is incomplete and likely an undercount. TEA suppresses some districts’ case counts to protect student privacy, and not all districts report student and staff cases to the state, despite agency guidance requiring otherwise. The agency also retroactively updates its data from previous weeks as more districts report cases.

Some large districts, such as Houston and Dallas, have not consistently reported cases to the state since TEA started tracking COVID-19 data on Aug. 2 for this school year. Many districts publish a COVID-19 dashboard that shows cases, and TEA recommends families check for the latest data there.

Entire districts, including Angleton and Lumberton, have closed temporarily without reporting cases to the state. These districts don’t necessarily report their closures, either, since they are not required to do so. TEA informally tracks closures based on media and district reports, said Frank Ward, an agency spokesperson.

I don’t quite understand the embedded table that this story has about school districts with the most reported COVID cases, as the numbers they report for HISD don’t match up with the ones on the HISD site. I guess they’re showing active cases and not cumulative ones, but it doesn’t sound like that from their description. In any event, the point is there’s a lot of COVID in the schools, and the schools have few options right now to mitigate it other than defying Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ban and hoping for the best in the courts. The forthcoming EUA for the Pfizer shot for kids will help eventually, though that will take time as even pro-vaxx parents may wait a bit before giving it to their kids.. And that is our reality.

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  1. Jason Hochman says:

    I hate to be the bearer of good news, but, locally, the “cases” have been declining, the positivity rate has been around 7% for a while, hospitalizations have been dropping. OK, now you can get back to living in fear, and begging our government to save us.

  2. policywonqueria says:


    Chuck Lindell has a good synopsis of what’s being litigated in courts:

    Abbott misusing emergency power to worsen pandemic, mask advocates argue
    Chuck Lindell. AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN (Oct. 4, 2021)

    “The assorted legal challenges to Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates make a variety of arguments, but most include one essential theme: State law gives the Texas governor extraordinary power to improve public health during a disaster — not make things worse. It’s an appeal to science over politics in a legal fight with deep political currents.”

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    Yeah, again, it comes down to what actually helps: a mask mandate or people wearing a mask? Does authoritarianism really make a difference for public health?

    The Science can’t be trusted. It is telling us ridiculous stuff, such as men can get pregnant, there are infinite genders, abortion is healthcare, and so many more whoppers I don’t have the time to list.

    We just need honest government and real news media, so that people can make their own best decision, rather than having a hate filled, demented despot, who ran on “empathy” attack people because “his patience is wearin’ thin.” What a piece of work, although, it’s not his fault that he’s demented.