SEGUIN, Texas — COVID-19 cases continue to climb at schools across the state. In Seguin, the rising number of cases is having an impact on the attendance rate. That’s why one superintendent took to social media to share his concerns with parents.
Seguin ISD is the latest school district to face a possible closure due to rising COVID cases. Angelina Valdez works in the bus department. She sees absences daily from students and staff.
A quick lunch of PB&J means Valdez is finally halfway through her day.
“I get up at 5 a.m.,” said Valdez.
She’s been a bus monitor in the bus barn for Seguin ISD for nine years, helping kids get to school safely and on time.
“My bus leaves at 6:15 a.m. I only come home and rest for a little bit, then I take off and go back to work,” she said.
Lately, Valdez said she’s seen a change – a steady drop of staff and students.
“They are short on bus drivers and monitors. If somebody gets sick or has to quarantine, it makes it worse. Sometimes I have to put more than one route on a bus so they can get them to school because somebody’s out,” said Valdez.
She said she’s worried because it’s not just herself she has to think about. Valdez takes care of her 4-month-old grandson regularly.
“Every time someone comes and grabs his toys, I have to throw them in the wash. I wash all his toys,” said Valdez.
Although she said they sanitize the buses daily as well as sanitize kids’ hands and check temperatures, she’s worried each day at work is putting her littlest family member at risk of getting the virus.
“I think it’s going to get to the point where they’re going to have to close the schools down because of COVID. It’s just spreading more and more,” said Valdez.
Seguin ISD Superintendent Dr. Matthew Gutierrez recently shared his concern on Facebook with similar thoughts.
It says, in part: “We are at a critical point due to the increasing COVID cases we are seeing in our school and community. The threat of a school or district closure becomes increasingly real each day.”
A real threat because of increasing cases, Gutierrez checks those numbers daily.
“We are expecting the next several days that we will surpass last year’s overall total of student and staff COVID cases,” said Gutierrez.
The real challenge lies in having enough staff to keep schools open.
“We could ultimately not have enough substitutes or teachers to be able to have face-to-face learning in our schools,” said Gutierrez. “If we have 10% of high school students and staff testing positive…we have a school of about 2,100 kids. If you have 2,100 kids in one facility who are positive for COVID, the safest thing to do is close down the school.”
He hopes it doesn’t get to that point.
For now, Valdez will keep doing her part to stay safe and keep working.