FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth ISD reports that more than 1,000 students and staff are in quarantine due to COVID-19.
The school district said 300 students and nearly 100 staff members are active COVID-19 cases. The hundreds of others in quarantine have been exposed and have been sent home.
Anyone who tests positive must stay home for 10 days and be symptom free before returning, while anyone who’s unvaccinated and comes in close contact with a positive case also must quarantine.
With the new TEA requirement, all of this information must be reported to parents.
Fort Worth ISD said its first week of school ended with 908 students in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 or having a close contact.
There are 185 staff members also in quarantine.
"I have expected and continue to expect frequent quarantine notices and frequent positive cases," parent Lizzie Maldonado said.
Thursday night, Maldonado received an email from her son’s elementary school.
It revealed two confirmed cases on campus, along with an unknown number of close contacts, who were asked to self-quarantine.
"I wish I could say I was surprised, but I think we have known that the school district is not taking the precautions they need to to protect our students," Maldonado said.
The same day the email hit Maldonado’s inbox, the Texas Education Agency reversed its decision in reporting positive cases.
Now, Texas school districts must notify teachers and families if there’s a confirmed COVID-19 case in a classroom.
The TEA also weighed in on Governor Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates, noting that it is not being enforced because of ongoing court battles.
"We should protect our children that can’t get vaccinated," a parent said at Fort Worth ISD’s school board meeting.
"Why are you superseding parents’ rights?" another parent said.
After some passionate opinions from parents at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board voted to join a South Texas district's lawsuit challenging the governor’s executive order.
However, the district’s mask policy didn’t change and masks remain optional.
"Parents have the right to choose what is best for their child, not the district, not teachers, or other parents," a parent said.
"I would like a mask mandate in order for my son to safely go to the school he’s been going to since kindergarten," another parent said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Board member Jacinto Ramos Jr. tweeted Friday that "he asked the board president twice to put the topic of a masks on next Tuesday’s agenda as well. Instead, he says it will be part of a special meeting later next week."
Tuesday’s agenda is focused on a virtual learning option.
Friday, Fort Worth ISD announced a temporary virtual learning program for medically fragile children beginning in mid-September.
Kindergarten through sixth grade students who have a documented medical condition can enroll.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Fort Worth ISD is set to vote on how to fund the virtual option.
Pending the board’s vote, virtual learning could begin September 13 and run through the rest of the semester.