AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Hey Everyone, we’re getting a lot of questions as rumors swirl about plans to close schools due to the surge of COVID in our community. These are very valid questions and we get it. As the numbers rise so do fears. The short answer to those questions is no, Amarillo ISD has no plans to close schools at this time. Now, here’s the long answer. Here we go.
Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in our community and in schools. For the record, statewide data in a recent report shows that the number of positive cases among in-person students in Amarillo ISD remains low at around two percent. This is comparable to other school districts around us in the Panhandle and across the state. Still, cases are growing in and around Amarillo, and we take every report of a positive case in our schools very seriously.
To start, as best we know, our superintendent and school board don’t have the authority to close schools for more than a few days. Anything longer than that has to come from a combination of other state or local authorities making the decision based on a number of factors. And, we are continuing to work closely with the health department and will rely on their medical expertise and authority if decisions need to be made about the closure of schools.
If you’re a parent and worried about your student being on campus you can make the switch to virtual learning. The vast majority of our families, about 85 percent, have chosen to send their children to school in person. Still as long as our virtual students are engaged and doing well, we will continue to offer parents the choice because we strongly believe letting parents make that call for their kids meets the needs of more families.
For the record, while we have no plans to close schools, we’re still preparing as best we can for the unexpected. Should a district-wide shutdown need to happen again, we want to be ready to provide quality virtual instruction for all students and we’re doing things every day to help us get closer to that point.
So, there’s the answer… the short and the long version.