SAN ANGELO, TX — The leadership team at the San Angelo Independent School District announced all district schools will open on time Monday following the regularly scheduled spring break happening this week in the wake of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.
“Health officials continue to consider the risk to our schools and the general public in San Angelo to be extremely low; there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tom Green County. At this time, we are not canceling any classes unless advised to do so by local health officials,” San Angelo ISD stated in a notice to parents and students.
San Angelo ISD officials said the decision came after meetings with health and education officials throughout the state.
“Our superintendent, Dr. Carl Dethloff participated in a conference call today with the State Department of Health Services. Over the weekend, we will be meeting with our senior leadership team, maintenance and operations, and Region XV Service Center representatives to receive updates from our Commissioner of Education and Texas Education Agency,” the statement said.
Across the state, many school districts are closing early yesterday or today for the spring break that those districts have originally scheduled the holiday for next week, or delaying students’ return to class after spring break if it the holiday was scheduled this week. The Texas Tribune reported late Thursday that “more than dozen” Texas school districts were canceling classes as a precaution to spreading the Coronavirus known as COVID-19.
Most of those school districts are in the Houston area where the Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported 15 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Harris, Montgomery, and Fort Bend Counties (see chart). The other districts that will be missing classroom days are in the Dallas area. There are seven Coronavirus cares in the Metroplex and one case is in the Longview area. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 23 cases statewide as of Friday morning, March 13, 2020.
There are no Coronavirus cases west of the I-35 corridor in Texas as of right now.
Closing public schools is thought to have detrimental financial impact on school district revenue because of State school finance laws. The State of Texas pays public school districts a stipend for each pupil present in class each day. The Texas Education Agency is working with Governor Greg Abbott’s office and stated in an announcement Thursday there will be more guidance issued soon on school funding if districts are forced to close campuses.
The San Angelo ISD decision to re-open on schedule Monday can be reversed depending on additional information or guidance provided by city, county, state or federal officials, the San Angelo ISD stated.
In addition, Shannon Medical Center is working with the district. “Shannon leadership has made the decision to enable all school nurses to have a direct consult with a Shannon Clinic pediatrician via telemedicine if a student presents with flu-like symptoms. School nurses will be following protocols as directed through the CDC and local healthcare providers,” the San Angelo ISD stated.