CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — School districts across Texas are welcoming students back even as the COVID-19 delta variant drives a statewide surge in COVID-19 cases.
Tuesday, all of Corpus Christi ISD’s 36,000-plus students return to class in person.
The district released its first-day plans Monday, and there were no surprises, based on earlier indications from CCISD. The district is doing what it's doing because it's simply following the state's lead.
However a parent from a smaller district, which has already started its school year, can't understand why kids are being forced into the classroom with masking as merely optional.
“I worry for my daughter, every day," Nina Reyes said. "I worry for all kids.”
Reyes' daughter, Rihanna, is an eighth-grader at Tuloso-Midway Middle School. T-MISD went back to school on July 14, just as COVID-19 cases started surging.
“Within a week, we saw 70 cases, this morning I read it's 185,” she said. “How high do they want it to go?”
Tuloso-Midway ISD’s website reported 185 COVID-19 cases Aug. 2-8; 64 at the middle school. Reyes can't understand why other districts aren't seeing the numbers out of Tuloso-Midway and going back to remote learning.
“What's going to happen to those kids?” she asked. “Why are they open? Why can't we just close them like we did before?”
The bottom line is money. A statement from CCISD Superintendent Roland Hernandez reads, in part: "At this time, the state is not providing funding for this option, and our large district would not be able to sustain large-scale virtual instruction."
Other districts are in the same boat, leaving parents such as Reyes feeling helpless.
“If it were up to me, I wouldn't send her,” she said.
CCISD, like T-MISD, and other local districts encourage parents to vaccinate their kids if they are eligible.
Reyes' daughter is old enough, but isn't vaccinated. Reyes says she and her family wear masks, and believe they should be mandatory in schools. However, back in May, Texas governor Greg Abbott banned school districts from doing so.
The governor's mask-mandate ban is being challenged in the courts. Also, Dallas ISD instituted a mask mandate while Houston ISD is considering one.
CCISD has no plans to implement a mask mandate, but encourages parents to send their kids to school with masks.