CYPRESS — After two school board meetings in the past seven days loaded with teachers and family members pleading to not have in-person school at the beginning of the school year on Sept. 8, 2020, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD has reportedly informed parents that an early learning center employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

With an estimated 7,000 teachers on staff in CFISD who are expected to arrive at the dozens of local school buildings tomorrow for professional development tomorrow morning, the timing couldn’t be worse. Additionally, the training is expected to be online, but at computers in their respective schoolhouses.

However, the district points to CFISD’s Coronavirus response protocols in its LEAD Safely plan.

CFISD’s statement reads: “The district will not comment on the health condition of individuals. Please see below the protocol that can also be found in our LEAD Safely 2020-2021 plan (http://www.cfisd.net/leadsafely) in the event an employee is suspected, presumptive, or confirmed for COVID-19.

According to district guidelines, if a staff member is suspected, presumptive, or confirmed for COVID-19, the CFISD Health Services department will be notified. The employee will be directed to follow the advice from medical professionals and CDC guidelines, including the possible imposition of a quarantine and required symptom-free period prior to returning to work; and the individual has improvement in symptoms; and at least ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

The district will:

• Identify and notify others who may have been exposed without disclosing the name of the affected employee; and

• Isolate and decontaminate the employee’s workplace, vehicle, equipment, etc., as necessary.”

The Cypress News Review has reached out to multiple local teacher unions, and the Cy-Fair Texas State Teachers Association / National Education Association has responded.

“While we have not heard from official channels, it is our understanding that an ELC Staff member has tested positive for COVID-19,” said Cy-Fair TSTA / NEA President Donna Lord. “If this news is indeed true, it serves to confirm not only Cy Fair TSTA/NEA’s fears but the fears of most of the employees in CFISD. Cy-Fair TSTA/NEA extends our thoughts and prayers to the employee and his/her family at this time for a quick and easy recovery.”

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“As we have stated since the beginning of reopening talk, the science does not support schools reopening for in-person classes at this time,” Lord added. “Staff is to return to campus tomorrow, August 14th, for three weeks of professional development.  It is our understanding the professional development will be “virtual.” Requiring staff to return to campus to participate in “virtual” professional development places staff and their loved ones at unnecessary risk.”

The union president referenced the county judge’s “Roadmap to Reopen schools” announcement yesterday, where Lina Hildalgo urged everyone to avoid group gatherings.

“Why is CFISD proceeding with in-person professional development?” Lord asked.

“No one is suggesting that we don’t have school this year,” the union president continued. “Teachers in CFISD want to get back to the business of teaching our students.  And, currently, the best option is to return entirely online because the science is telling us it is not safe to reopen face to face.  This is even supported by the district’s own survey in which it appears a majority of parents have already chosen the online option for their students.”

“How many more employees and students need to test positive for COVID-19 before CFISD and its Board of Trustees decides it is time to return entirely on-line?  While we appreciate the Board of Trustees offering us their prayers, we need them to look at the science.   Cy-Fair TSTA/NEA urges the board and the administration to do the right thing.”

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