Waco ISD finalizing back-to-school protocols amid rising COVID cases

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WACO, Texas- The rise of COVID cases in McLennan County is putting local schools in limbo as they make decisions for the upcoming school year.

The Waco Independent School District will resume in-person classes at 100 percent, and they are finalizing what will work best for the students.

Waco ISD Health Services Director Rhiannon Settles says they have been working closely with the Waco- McLennan County Public Health District for the best back-to-school plan.

“It’ll be different. It’s not ‘back to 2018’ normal, but it will be better. We are going to be okay. We’re going to make it,” Settles said. “We will provide learning to kids, meals to kids, {and} do everything that we have to do. It’s just going to be a little different.”

Settles says they are looking at guidance from the CDC and American Pediatric to ensure students are safe, and have the best learning opportunities.

“I think we will probably be just as flexible with things this year as we were last year,” Settles said. “COVID’s not gone. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon, unfortunately. So we may have to adapt changes or adapt plans.”

The school district encourages children ages twelve and up to get the vaccine – but it is not required. Settles says they want to keep everyone safe and avoid quarantining students and employees this year.

“We’ll encourage students and staff to wear masks,” Settles said. “We can’t require it due to the governor’s order, but we will strongly encourage it because that’s going to be the safest way to operate.”

Settles says the school district is working with the Health District to develop a plan for a recurring vaccination clinics throughout the year for employees and students.

“We do have Family Fest scheduled at Waco High and University, both on August 14th,” Settles said. “At both of those locations, we will be able to offer state required vaccines for kids and COVID vaccines for employees, students….and actually for families!”

FOX 44 spoke with the Temple Independent School District and the Copperas Cove Independent School District, and they are still in the process of finalizing protocols for the upcoming school year.

The Midway Independent School District says they presented preliminary plans to the school board last Tuesday, but they are waiting on guidance from the Health District which will be released next week.

For more information on the Waco ISD Family Fest, you can click here.

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