TISD closes campuses to minimize spread of COVID

Desks+sit+empty+in+classes+across+the+Texas+High+School+campus+on+January+11%2C+2022+because++of+sharp+rise+in+COVID+infections+within+Texarkana+ISD.+Sixty-nine+percent+of+students+attended+school+Tuesday.

Photo by Brooke Knight

Desks sit empty in classes across the Texas High School campus on January 11, 2022 because of sharp rise in COVID infections within Texarkana ISD. Sixty-nine percent of students attended school Tuesday.

Story by Liberty Maldonado Cowan, Staff Writer

With the rapidly rising COVID cases and continuous shortness of staff, Texarkana ISD sent an email to students and parents notifying them that the district would close Jan. 12-Jan. 15. Monday, Jan. 17, is the district’s Martin Luther King Jr., holiday.

After receiving word that Texarkana, Arkansas School District would be closing for a week, TISD students couldn’t help but wonder if their school would be next. 

“I think it was a wise choice to close the school down for the remainder of the week due to the lack of people wearing their masks and the absence of teachers due to COVID,” sophomore Avery Bullock said. “When I walk through the hallway, I see maybe two other people wearing their masks, and that’s a serious problem because we are the reason that people and their families are contracting COVID.”

In the email, superintendent Dr. Doug Brubaker said the district assessed a wide range of internal and external indicators to determine the level of risk and/or possible disruption to campus operations.

“All data suggested a significant impact to our ability to adequately staff campuses and has caused an operational disruption that would prevent us from continuing face-to-face instruction from Wednesday through Friday of this week,” Brubaker said in the email. “We know this is disappointing and inconvenient. Safety must remain our top priority.”

During the closure, remote learning will not be offered.

“Staff members will not be required to conduct remote learning,” principal Patti O’Bannon said. “They will use this time to adjust classroom instruction to make up for lost time upon return to campus.”

Along with teachers, many students have been out. Sophomore Blaise Larry-Cox has not returned to school since the holiday break. 

“I caught COVID the Monday before school started and had to miss the first week back from Christmas break,” Larry-Cox said. “It was fun at first, staying at home and playing PlayStation all day. But, as the days went on, I got more and more concerned that I was missing school work I’d have to make up. And with how tired I was from the virus, I didn’t know when I’d feel good enough to come back.”