As expected, today's Operations of Emergency Management meeting included much needed and anticipated news from our local Health Authority Dr. John McNeill, and VISD Superintendent, Dr. Shepard.

Dr. McNeill as Victoria's Health Authority has issued an order that VISD, with authority from the Texas Education Agency, that states VISD shall suspend in-person classes through September 20, 2020.

Here is a copy of the official order:

Schools ordered to suspend in-person classes through Sept. 7

Victoria County Local Health Authority Dr. John McNeill signed an order Monday requiring all public and private schools offering non-religious education within the county to suspend in-person classes through Sept.7th.

Schools offering religious education may continue to do so in-person but are strongly encouraged to use virtual instruction as an alternative.

The decision is a result of consultation between City of Victoria and Victoria County leadership, public health officials and education officials. Based on these discussions, community leaders determined that resuming face-to-face instruction before Sept. 7 would present a serious public health risk due to the high rate of community transmission of COVID-19 within Victoria County.

COVID-19 has the potential to spread more rapidly within schools “due to the necessity of large groups gathering in indoor spaces and the difficulty for children to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines,” according to the order. An early release article published July 16 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that COVID-19 spreads between children and that suspending in-person instruction significantly reduces the transmission of COVID-19.

Schools may not host extracurricular activities while face-to-face instruction is suspended. At least two weeks before resuming face-to-face instruction, each school or district must develop a reopening plan that will be submitted to McNeill and must be made available to the public. Schools may continue to host classes virtually while campuses are closed.

Local leaders continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 and may decide later to further delay the start of in-person instruction.

To view the full text of the new order and all previous City and County orders related to COVID-19, read here.

PARENTS PLEASE NOTE: VISD STARTS VIRTUALLY AUGUST 18th 

All extracurricular activities school-related, such as sports has been ordered to not begin until September 7th as well.

In regard to COVID news, Dr. McNeill addressed rumors that Victoria's COVID count numbers are incorrect. Dr. Mc Neill offered that the numbers are correct to the best of the Victoria Health Department's knowledge but to remind the public that different variables change numbers slightly. Right now the concern is hospitalization and our local hospitals are making arrangements to open new beds.

As of 7.19. 2020 there are 68 new cases of positive COVID results with a total case count of 2,475, with 1,189 recovering at home with 125 patients hospitalized at this time. Dr. McNeill offers that social distancing is just as important at this time as wearing a mask.

Undoubtedly there are many questions for parents and they are encouraged to visit the VISD website here to learn more.

 Here is a link to the live OEM meeting here.
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