GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – One week after returning to school, Garland ISD is reporting 314 active cases of COVID-19 among students and staff.
The district’s website began displaying confirmed cases among enrolled students as of July 1, but the count appeared to jump after the start of school.
Between Friday and Monday, it grew by 62.
The biggest cluster appears to be at Sachse High School where 22 students are known to be currently infected and another 8 recently recovered.
District-wide, current cases represent about 0.5% of all students and nearly 0.6% of all staff.
“There’s no unified, systematic approach in how to deal with that,” Geoff Keah, an administrator on a Facebook group for more than 3,000 Garland ISD parents.
He said group members have reported inconsistencies in how schools are responding to cases – from the precautions they take to the way they inform parents.
“By and large, they’re disappointed,” he said of parents. “They’d rather have a mask mandate in school, particularly because the vaccine is not… approved yet for children under 12.”
His 8-year-old son is voluntarily wearing a mask.
“We didn’t have to have a conversation. He grabbed the mask and I’ve seen some actual photographs and he’s wearing the mask in school,” said Keah.
His 5-year-old daughter puts up a struggle.
“That’s a work in progress. We’re working on that,” he said.
Garland ISD hasn’t responded to requests for comment on its COVID-19 count.
The Garland Health Department, though, warned the current delta variant is far more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain the district dealt with last year.
“It’s inevitable that it’s going to spread in schools,” said Jason Chesser, the managing director of health.
He said it’s early, but so far the virus doesn’t appear to be spreading faster in schools than in the community at large.
No Garland ISD students have yet had to be hospitalized, he said.
“They seem to have less severe sickness, less severe cases,” said Chessher, of infected children.
The best defense, he says, is for those eligible to get vaccinated in order to protect both themselves and the children around them.
“The morale of the story, I suppose, is get vaccinated or get delta,” said Chessher.