High COVID-19 infections plagued start of school year, but districts managed to keep numbers low in the end

Most Texas school districts were dealt what seemed like an overwhelming wave of COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. Despite the challenges, many school districts managed to handle the situation and ended the semester with a lower positivity rate trend.

Texas Tribune public education writer Brian Lopez has been keeping tabs on the trends.

“One of the big topics going into the school year: ‘How do we get children back into the classroom as safely as possible? How do we keep their families safe, and how do we keep teachers safe?’” he said.

Overall, Lopez said three factors helped lower COVID-19 cases. One was those districts with mask mandates, and those who pushed for mask-wearing often times had lower numbers. Two — the arrival of vaccines for younger children and the boosters. And three was the adaption of a new normal of social distancing and cleaning rituals.

Lopez said it remains to be seen if districts decide to apply what they’ve learned into the next school year.

“Experts have said that, you know, we’re in a state right now where we can kind of navigate this pandemic. We know what works, what doesn’t,” Lopez said.


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