CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Corpus Christi Independent School District has surpassed 2,000 cases in their total case count since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
As of Monday, the district's website shows the total case number as 2,021, with 1,833 of those cases among students, and 188 among staff.
It is important to note that the total case count since the beginning of the school year is not the same as the active case numbers. It is unclear how many of these cases are considered active cases, how many have fully recovered, or how many have been vaccinated against COVID-19. KRIS 6 News reached out to the district for further clarification back when the school year had first begun in March.
"CCISD’s cases chart is for informational use only, and is based on positive-case reports the district receives from employees and from students’ families," CCISD Chief Communications Officer Leanna Libby. "Each business day, the district posts the number of positive-case reports for the current week. The chart also houses cumulative totals for campuses as well as the district as a whole. As recovery time varies among individuals and we do not always receive confirmation of recovered cases, we did not have enough confidence in the numbers to continue including the column for the 2021-2022 school year. CCISD does not share health information for individual cases, nor does the district track hospitalizations. While, anecdotally, we believe most of the recent cases are among unvaccinated persons, the district does not require this information to be shared. We continue to urge everyone age 12 and older to get vaccinated."
A temporary mask mandate set for thirty days expired Friday, and Corpus Christi ISD school officials have decided to "strongly recommend" masks moving forward.
“It is encouraged and recommended that staff and students will wear a mask while indoors, although it will no longer be a formal requirement,” said Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez. “As we wait for the vaccine to become available to our younger students, it is important to continue doing everything we can to maintain a healthy learning environment for ourselves as well as to demonstrate care for one another.”
Libby says the mask mandate did its job.
"We feel like we played a part in helping our community through this surge, helping those numbers go down." Libby said. "We are certainty not done with the pandemic, but we are really encouraged by the decrease in the numbers."
Nueces County has seen a decrease in COVID-19 case numbers, and that will be used to determine if the school district will continue mask mandates or discontinue them and leave that up to parents.
"We did put that temporary mask requirement for 30 days and we did see that really help us get that number really high in terms of people wearing masks in school," Libby said.
Dr. Srikanth Ramachandruni, the local health authority, said that news of the safety of the Pfizer vaccine when it comes to children between the ages 5-11 is great, but CCISD should take certain things into consideration when deciding if the mask mandate should end.
"Whenever we are considering taking away the mask mandates from the schools," he said, "there are two things to consider, the positivity rate in the area should be below 5 percent."
We are still not there but on our way there, according to Ramachandruni. He also said that CCISD should wait until parents can vaccinate their children once the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children between 5 and 11-years old.
"I think it is reasonable to extend that mask mandate in my opinion," Dr. Ramachandruni said.
COVID-19 cases numbers among districts students and staff are updated every weekday on the CCISD website.The numbers from the weekend and holidays are posted by the end of the next business day.
According todata collected during the 2019-2020 school year from the National Center of Education Statistics, CCISD had about 36,618 total students and 2,227 teachers.