Public Health director: Schools should consider switch to virtual learning

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FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - The director of Tarrant County Public Health is urging school districts to close their campuses, with COVID-19 cases at schools on the rise.

"Schools should be preparing and considering a switch to virtual learning," Public Health Director Vinny Taneja told the Tarrant County Commissioners Court this morning. "All indicators are pointing that there is increased disease activity in our community. People need to take more precautions."

As he does every week during Commissioners Court, Taneja listed some statistics on COVID-19.

"Total cases in Texas schools are 12,847," Taneja said. "That's an increase of 2990 from the previous week, which is about a 30% increase."

Taneja says the trend in Tarrant County is similar.

"We have 1,148 cases in Tarrant County schools," says Taneja, "a 33% increase from the week before."

Considering those numbers, Taneja says school campuses are not the ideal place to be sending kids these days.

"We had asked people to be cautious, to look at what the data is telling us," Taneja said. "And now, four weeks in, almost all the indicators are turning red. So the data is becoming adverse for in-person learning."

Under guidance by Attorney General Ken Paxton, county governments do not have the authority to close school campuses to in-person learning.

That decision can only be made by the school districts.

The Fort Worth ISD issued a statement in response to Taneja's recommendation.

"We are aware of the extent of the virus in our community," the statement reads. "Since October 5, we have had a live student and staff report on our website to help families make important decisions.

"We are maintaining the in-person and virtual models and can switch at any time the Board of Education believes that to be in the best interest of our children and employees."