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LISD takes break amid COVID-19 case spike

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District offers temporary pay boost for substitute teachers

From staff reports

Lockhart ISD closed its campuses earlier this week in an effort to give students and staff infected with COVID-19 a chance to recover and return to school.

As of Tuesday night, the district’s dashboard was reporting 34 active cases of COVID-19 in the district. None of those cases were employees. However, any changes to that total that may have occurred on Wednesday were not available when the Lockhart Post-Register was printed that morning.

Last Tuesday, there were 120 active confirmed cases of COVID-19. Eighty-seven of the cases were students.

The district on Friday determined it would give students and staff a long weekend after both the number of cases and students in quarantine had continued to rise. Campuses were closed on Monday and Tuesday and the classes will not need to be made up later in the year.

A spokesperson for the district said Tuesday that campuses were set to reopen Wednesday as scheduled.

Superintendent Mark Estrada said in a letter to parents, guardians and staff that he did not take the decision to close campuses lightly.

“The student attendance rate is at a record low at 73%. The instructional pace has been significantly affected by increasing and revolving student absences,” Estrada wrote. “At the moment, we have 671 students in quarantine. A total of 91 staff are currently out for COVID-19-related reasons. Our substitute fill rate is 39%. Bus routes continue to be closed, and our child care development center for our staff’s children is on the verge of having to close some of its classrooms, which would result in even further staff absences.

“This pause is primarily intended to allow students and staff who have been ill to get better and return. Further, we hope to provide time for healthy staff to rest to prevent burnout and to help slow the spread of the virus.”

The district on Tuesday announced it was temporarily increasing the regular substitute pay rate by $50 in an effort to help the substitute fill rate. The increase will remain in effect through Friday, March 11.

In the week that has passed since the last Lockhart Post-Register press deadline, the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services has continued to rise, with 835 new cases bringing the total for the area to 10,823.

Total deaths are at 164, an increase of five in the last week. The total reflects the number of COVID-19 fatalities since case numbers began being recorded in March 2020.

Per DSHS reports, hospitals in Region O — which includes Travis, Hays and Caldwell Counties — are at 94.6% occupancy with 14 adult ICU beds and six pediatric beds open. 

The transmission rate in Caldwell County is considered high, with the CDC reporting a 44.72% positivity rate on COVID-19 tests. There have been nine people from the area admitted to the hospital in the past week, according to the CDC.

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1 comment

  1. Katina Williams 26 January, 2022 at 11:28 Reply

    Has there been any effort to help out with the expenses and unexpected burdens, put upon the work staff and work force, of the businesses, who have to work, tirelessly, doing on behalf of those who can’t and fulfilling all the positions, in dire need, who where already struggling, before all of this happened? And are there any benefits, supporting them and backing them up, under special hardship situations?

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