North Texas districts temporarily closing schools, reinstating mask mandates due to COVID-19 surge


On Wednesday, doctors at Cook Children’s warned there would be more school closures in North Texas if more people didn’t do things like get vaccinated or wear masks.

It’s now becoming routine for districts to have to pause in-person classes after large chunks of their students and staff are being held out because of COVID-19.

Districts are trying to minimize that disruption.

Duncanville ISD announces a mask mandate

Duncanville ISD is the latest district to rework its pandemic policies, announcing that when students return from Labor Day weekend, they’ll have to wear masks.

It’s also holding a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Duncanville High School Friday.

The district said it has actually seen a slight decrease in cases, but Duncanville ISD Superintendent Marc Smith wrote in a statement: "With Labor Day weekend and an upcoming Fall Break in October, putting a temporary mask mandate in place is a proactive decision and attempt to mitigate the number of positive cases in our schools."

RELATED: Texas schools dealing with 'major operational issues' due to COVID-19 outbreaks, TEA says

Richardson ISD holds emergency board meeting, closes elementary campus

Unfortunately, many districts are not seeing cases decline.

Richardson ISD revealed it’s halting in-person learning at Brentfield Elementary for the next 10 days. 

The district said nearly a quarter of Brentfield’s students were absent from in-person learning Wednesday because they either tested positive for COVID-19 or are quarantined.

Brentfield students will learn online until the campus reopens.

The board of trustees plans to hold an emergency meeting Friday morning to consider school closures and how to move forward. They fear other schools that are having the same problem as Brentfield will be next.

Richardson ISD does have a mask mandate that follows the recommendations of doctors.

"While again, I know that many of you would like me to discount the recommendations, possibly asserting that I know more than they do, I would never in good conscience do such a thing as the leader of our school district," said Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone said.

Maypearl ISD closed Friday because of rising COVID-19 cases

And Maypearl ISD, southwest of Waxahachie in Ellis County, shut down all its schools on Friday because so many students have called in sick this week.

The district said a large number of children have COVID-19. Others are sick with RSV or strep.

Teachers and staff will continue to work at their campuses on Friday. 

As of now, Maypearl ISD plans to have students back in class on Tuesday.

The district does not have a mask mandate.

North Texas doctors make a plea for masks in schools

Cook Children’s doctors made a desperate plea for masking in schools and vaccination Wednesday.

RELATED: Overwhelmed Cook Children's doctors make desperate plea as COVID-19 delta variant surge continues

The hospital system’s emergency room and urgent cares are overwhelmed.

And doctors raised concerns about what they were seeing take place at the beginning of the school year.

"We are looking at photos recently, of passing periods in the high schools, where we are literally looking at hundreds of students shoulder-to-shoulder without masks on," Dr. Susi Whitworth said. "This is the same thing as a superspreader event occurring continuously in these schools and it’s dangerous."

A month ago, just 40 children were hospitalized in North Texas with COVID-19.

Thursday, hospitals reported 116 hospitalized with the virus.

"I have two kids in school, they wear masks. It’s a no brainer for me. It’s the simplest thing in the world and it doesn’t bother them," Medical Director Of Emergency Services for Cook Children’s Dr. Corwin Warmink said.