COVID-19 cases, quarantines increase at San Antonio-area schools, officials say

Families choosing to quarantine following kids exposed to COVID-19 at school share concerns

SAN ANTONIOCOVID-19 cases at Bexar County school districts are increasing by the day as the fall semester gets underway, with several families already in quarantine because their children were exposed to COVID-19 at their campuses.

“As a parent, you want to you want to know that they’re going into a safe environment and learning,” said Erica Saenz, a parent who has two students that attend Herf Elementary School in Boerne ISD.

Saenz’s family is quarantining after there was a positive COVID-19 case reported in her son’s class.

“My biggest concern is the lack of precautionary measures being taken by the Boerne school district,” Saenz said.

Lisa Ritter, also a parent at the district, said her family chose to quarantine too.

“Within a few days of school starting, I received notices for both of my middle school children that they were exposed to COVID in their classroom,” Ritter said.

A spokesperson for Boerne ISD said as of Friday, Aug. 20, the district had 93 positive COVID-19 cases.

Boerne ISD sent KSAT the following statement:

“BoerneISD has had a great start to the school year. It is exciting to have our students back in the classroom.

“We continue to address mitigation strategies with our campuses including, social distancing of three feet when possible, use of plexiglass dividers, limiting eating and drinking in class, not sharing supplies, disinfection of surfaces throughout the instructional day, among other things.

“On Friday’s, BoerneISD will send email notifications to parents with the updated COVID-19 numbers for their specific campus. We implemented this notification process last year and have continued it during the new school year.

“In addition, we send exposure notifications when there is a positive COVID case in their child’s class. This step follows the Texas Education Agency guidelines.

“We also offer free COVID tests to all our students and staff. The tests are administered at our campuses and Central Office by appointment only.

“As has been the case this school year, any student or staff member who would like to wear a mask are welcome to do so. We support whichever option our parents prefer, but we encourage the wearing of face masks. “Personal responsibility is also extremely important, if your child is not feeling well, do not send them to school, and have them wear a mask if you feel that is best.

“Our focus continues to be on the health and safety of our students, in addition to providing the very best education in the current circumstances.”

With masks still optional at the school district, Ritter says more needs to be done to protect children.

“We were in this district last year when kids went back in person. My kids went back in person, and they wore masks every day. And my children did not get COVID last year,” Ritter said.

KSAT reached out to some of the large school districts in our area about their plans in case of a significant COVID-19 outbreak:

Northside ISD said it doesn’t have current plans for virtual learning. It will offer remote conferencing for quarantining students, where assigned staff will provide online support for a set period of hours each day.

North East ISD is also offering remote conferencing.

Northside ISD and North East ISD said they don’t have any current plans to require vaccinations for their employees.

San Antonio ISD said if an entire class is quarantined, but the teacher is vaccinated and therefore not quarantined -- and not sick -- then the teacher may teach all students in the class remotely. If only a portion of a class is quarantined, then students who are quarantined will stay connected to the teacher through asynchronous, digital resources. Absences related to quarantine or COVID-19 symptoms are excused. The district said there were about 200 cases during the first week of school. The district is requiring its staff to be vaccinated by Oct. 15.


Gov. Greg Abbott, AG ask Texas Supreme Court to lift Bexar County mask mandate

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.