By JAMES BELL
ELLIS — Ellis USD 388 schools reported Friday, 49 students and staff of the district are currently under quarantine.
In his weekly COVID-19 update, Superintendent Corey Burton said six positive cases were also identified in the district this week.
The biggest impact, he said, was the football team would be unable to play this week.
The majority of the positive cases are in the combined junior and senior high school, with 5 positive cases reported there and 45 students and staff quarantined.
Enrollment at the school is only 183, meaning nearly a quarter of the student body was quarantined this week.
The bulk of the quarantine began Tuesday, meaning with current COVID-19 mitigation plans in the district, those students will be required to complete 10 days of isolation.
With the significant number of students out, Burton said the school board would look at the current policy at its regular meeting.
"The board could adopt a policy that the county is recommending," Burton said, "which could change that on Monday."
"That would allow students that are under quarantine for school-related exposures to come back to school in a mask and to do a check-in in the morning," Burton said.
He said the new strategy would more closely align with Hays and Victoria school districts to keep quarantine numbers down.
"We are working closely with the Ellis County Health Department to keep our students and staff as safe as possible," Burton said. "Our goal is to keep kids in school and keep our students, staff and community healthy. We will continue to monitor this situation and may need to make changes in the future to adjust for outbreaks."
In the meantime, Burton is asking parents to help the situation as much as possible by keeping ill children at home, encouraging staff and students to wear masks and social distance when possible.
"We also want to take this opportunity to remind you that one of our core values as a district is respect for and among our employees and students," Burton said. "We will treat information regarding the identity of employees/students with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 as confidential to the extent feasible and we will comply with applicable laws regarding the handling of such information. Further, per district policy, we will not tolerate harassment of, or discrimination or retaliation against, employees and students."