LUBBOCK, Texas – Schools all over the state are reporting a high number of COVID cases leading to staff calling out sick, and children having to stay home. The increase in classroom absentees is now forcing educators to make changes to the schedule. 

Both Littlefield ISD and Lorenzo ISD canceled Friday classes. Plainview ISD suspended all Tuesday classes. Lamsa officials said the campus will be closed until Wednesday. Clinton Gill with the Texas State Teacher Association said while schools can’t close directly because of the rise in cases, the lack of staff is a different story. 

“The Texas Education Agency, the Commissioner, and the Governor all have made it very clear that the Texas schools will not shut down again, in full force like they did at the beginning of the pandemic,” Gill said. “If you do have a situation like a grade level where you don’t have staff or if it’s a school, making that school where they just don’t have the two main teachers out or students out then you can do some closures, temporary closures there.” 

Many schools are deciding to take full advantage of Monday being a holiday by extending the already long weekend to give students and staff a chance to recover from their illness. Gill said the ongoing staffing shortages schools are dealing with are just making matters worse.

Schools have sent out notifications to parents all over the state canceling classes, or postponing school games related to COVID. Other schools making changes because of high transmission are Sudan ISD, Dawson and Snyder.

Kristi Giezma, a parent and nurse practitioner in the area, said she’s concerned schools are not taking enough precautions.

“I haven’t seen filtration systems except for what parents have donated,” Giezma said. “There’s some in the school nurse clinics, but no information about increasing ventilation. Again, though outdoor spaces that’s a part of it. Masking is not mandated, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have them available and out in all the classrooms, so it’s easy for kids to pick them up. It normalizes it right now. Kids are being teased for wearing masks. My kids have been teased for wearing masks.”