Breckenridge Texan

BISD cancels classes for Monday to assess the coronavirus situation, plans to re-open on Tuesday

BISD cancels classes for Monday to assess the coronavirus situation, plans to re-open on Tuesday
March 13
18:31 2020

The Breckenridge Independent School District has canceled all classes on Monday for students and staff, with the exception of campus administration personnel, directors and central office staff, while they assess the coronavirus situation. Classes are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, March 16.

According to BISD Interim Superintendent Earl Jarrett, on Monday administrative personnel will meet to formulate contingency plans in case they do have to close the schools at a later date because of the coronavirus disease that has led to a “state of disaster” declaration for the state of Texas and a “national emergency” declaration for the United States.

He said that on Monday administrators will look at things like how they will distribute staff or how they might provide food to kids who are on free or reduced-price lunch plans, if the schools have to be closed for a longer period of time.

“You know all those things we’d have to look at logistically,” he said. “So we can have a day to do some intense planning.”

On Friday afternoon, March 13, Jarrett participated in a teleconference between school superintendents and the office of Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to discuss the coronavirus.

“What the commissioner’s office said was we’re supposed to have school, and so they advised us to follow the CDC’s plan for dismissing school,” he said.

Jarrett said the CDC plan says if there are no illnesses in your area and people are not self-reporting that they have visited an area with a high rate of infections — specifically Italy, Japan, the state of Washington or on a cruise — then there’s really no reason to close a school.

“So unless you’ve had some kind of direct exposure, they’re not recommending that you close your school,” he said.

In a letter to BISD staff and local community members sent out Friday evening, Jarrett said, “Monday will be utilized by the administration to screen faculty and staff members prior to returning to work, provide time for parents to self-report cases of exposure, and plan for the continued education of students if school must be closed in the future.”

The complete letter is featured below:

Click here to read the BISD COVID-19 Letter

Breckenridge ISD Staff, Families, and Community,

Breckenridge ISD will be closed for students and staff on Monday, March 16, to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the district. Campus and district administration, directors, and central office employees will be expected to report to work. The district will use the CDC’s guidance, which may be found at this link https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/considerations-for-school-closure.pdf, for determining if and when the school should be closed. County Judge, Michael Roach, has reported that there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Stephens County at this time. School will resume as usual for staff and students on Tuesday, March 17.

Monday will be utilized by the administration to screen faculty and staff members prior to returning to work, provide time for parents to self-report cases of exposure, and plan for the continued education of students if school must be closed in the future. If a student or staff member has been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 or visited an area where the virus is prevalent (i.e. Italy, Japan, the State of Washington, or a cruise ship), we are asking you to report this information to the school and comply with the 14 day quarantine as is recommended by federal and state health officials.

In an effort to prevent the spread of contagious disease, Breckenridge ISD contracts with a company called GermBlast to periodically sanitize the district’s facilities. GermBlast sanitized all of the Breckenridge ISD campuses over spring break. According to a company spokesman, “the shield that we apply kills odor causing bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew for approximately 90 days”. We are hopeful that this will aid in our effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the students and staff of Breckenridge ISD.

The health and safety for our students and staff is paramount. Students should not be at school if they are running a fever or exhibiting the symptoms of an infectious disease. All absences incurred as a precaution for being exposed to the COVID-19 virus will be forgiven. Children with illnesses that suppress the immune system should consult their doctor before making the determination to return to school. Employees who may be at risk should contact their supervisor.

I would like to thank each of you in advance for your cooperation in this matter. We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.

Sincerely,

Earl Jarrett

Interim Superintendent

UIL activity cancellations

In addition to Monday’s school closing, students may be affected by the University Interscholastic League’s decision to cancel all UIL activities from March 16 through March 29. Those activities include all competitive sporting events, band and things like the one-act plays.

“They’re trying to keep kids from one community from spreading it to another,” Jarrett said. “I can understand that.”

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

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