Coronavirus Cases in Central Texas Counties 091620

Salado Independent School District registered its first known COVID-19 case of the school year after a third-grader tested positive for COVID-19 Monday evening, Superintendent Michael Novotny said.

It was the district’s first confirmed case since Aug. 21.

Novotny said five other students also were placed in quarantine, because of their close contact to the infected student.

“We thoroughly cleaned all the areas involved before school started this morning and have been communicating with all of the parents at the three levels,” Novotny told the Telegram. “We’re doing our best to mitigate (COVID-19) in terms of quarantining students as necessary, thorough cleaning, and communication and transparency with parents.”

Although the county has now tallied 5,113 cases, Health Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said only a small number of those are new cases. There were 5,019 cases recorded before Tuesday’s announcement.

“We prioritize the entry of new cases, but since COVID-19 has been relatively calm in the last several days it has given us a chance to get caught up with the backlog of cases that we received so the majority of the cases for today are attributed to that,” she said. “We can say that the backlog hasn’t had any significant impact on the overall trend.”

However, the health district did receive new fatality data, which brought the death count to 75 on Tuesday — two more since Monday.

Belton Independent School District’s dashboard did not show any new cases, while Temple Independent School District’s still needs to be updated.

KISD grievance filed

Despite the Killeen Independent School District adding a newly reported COVID-19 case of a staff member, the employee works in a non-campus building, according to the district. Five students and 51 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus since March 16.

The Texas State Teachers Association recently filed a class action grievance against Killeen ISD. The grievance, which was filed on behalf of the Killeen Educators Association, cited how teachers and paraprofessional members are being forced to work in unsafe environments during the pandemic.

“The safety of the students, the staff and the KISD community must come first,” Rick Beaule, president of the educators association, said in a news release. “This isn’t about whether we want to work. We desperately want to teach our students to be the best they can be. This just can’t happen as we stand right now. Student cases have already begun to rise.

Killeen ISD educators, who began in-person instruction on Aug. 31, are requesting for several of these health-related issues to be resolved.

“Among other requests, the educators ask that the school district provide personal protection equipment for every employee at their campuses; the district suspend on-campus instruction and switch to virtual learning and students to be provided with the necessary equipment; and members who express concerns about school safety to the administration not to be retaliated against,” the news release said.

The Killeen Educators Association said an appeal process will take the grievance to the state education commissioner if Killeen ISD does not handle the issues presented to them.

Bell County’s “level three” threat level will be updated Wednesday afternoon, after the Bell County Public Health District completes their weekly assessment. To improve to the desired “level four” the county needs to maintain a 14-day flat or decreasing trend in new COVID-19 cases and for the number of hospitalizations to improve.

The Bell County Public Health District also noted distribution of a vaccine or treatments to be necessary for a shift in the threat level.

FME News Service reporter Hunter King contributed to this report.

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