‘They’re going to wait until it’s completely dire’: Officials concerned about school COVID-19 cases

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As of Tuesday, around 600 kids have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hidalgo County since the school year began.

Local health and Education officials tell CalleyCentral that unless there’s a change in what schools can do for kids, there’s no end in sight.

Hidalgo County health authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said the increase in COVID-19 cases in school-aged children is “concerning, absolutely concerning.”

In virtual court Monday, Dr. Melendez testified about the rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases in recent days as part of a lawsuit against Governor Abbott’s executive order banning masks.

Melendez said 573 COVID-19 cases have been linked to the restart of in-person learning.

“We’re probably averaging between 40 and 50 a day,” he said.

Ruben Cortez Jr. represents parts of the Rio Grande Valley on the state board of education. He said Governor Abbott could do more to help the situation than he has.

“The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor have the authority today to tell Commissioner Moran and the TEA to allow this virtual option, and that’s not happening,” he said.

According to the Hidalgo County COVID dashboard, 73 students and 11 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 on August 24.

Over the weekend over 50 school-aged children in Cameron County also tested positive for COVID-19.

“This will continue to increase, absolutely,” said Melendez. “So, no, I don’t think we’ve see the end of this.”

Cortez said that history shows that the Texas Education Agency will not be proactive about making a change to better protect students in the face of mounting pediatric COVID-19 cases.

“They’re going to wait until it’s completely dire and their backs up against the wall and they get a call from the Governor that says ‘allow them to go virtual, and yes, fund them,'” said Cortez.

Until the TEA makes a change, all schools can do is try to keep their students safe.

“Across the board, all the superintendents were 100% of masks,” said Melendez. “So, I think after vaccination, that’s the most important factor we can do.”

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