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Kilgore ISD says it will continue to maintain its COVID protocols through the rest of the year and that its COVID case numbers are dropping.

Kilgore ISD is seeing a drop in possible and confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers and staff members and will maintain campus policies of social distancing and mask use as the 2020-2021 school year approaches its end, officials said.

Kilgore ISD Superintendent Andy Baker said the district’s safety policies to limit the spread of the virus have “mostly stayed the same” for all events and activities inside campus facilities. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott repealed a statewide face mask mandate in mid-March and, at the time, Baker said the district would continue its safety protocols until such time as they could be safely removed.

Director of Safety and Emergency Management Charley Presley gave board members an update on current campus counts of COVID-19 cases and possible exposures at a meeting Monday.

“Currently, there are no staff members that are out or have been lab-confirmed or are under quarantine due to exposure or being symptomatic,” Presley said.

“At the end of the day on Friday (April 23), we had 22 students at home due to COVID-19 protocols but we did not have any lab-confirmed positive test results,” he said. “We had 14 that are quarantined due to possible exposure. All of those are in quarantine because of possible exposure to lab-confirmed positive individuals. We have eight students at home with COVID-19 symptoms waiting to see what diagnosis they receive.”

He noted March 31 was the last day district administrators had been notified that a student or employee was confirmed positive for COVID-19.

“Now, with the vaccinations being in place, the guidance from TEA (Texas Education Agency) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) is, once you’ve been vaccinated, plus 14 days, then you do not have to be quarantined if you have been exposed to a lab-confirmed case as long as you’re not symptomatic,” Presley, noting KISD administration was allowing employees to self-report their vaccination dates.

“As of Saturday, April 24, all KISD employees who were going through the vaccination process we have helped coordinate with local healthcare providers in Gregg County should have received their second round. So, counting from Saturday then two weeks out, most of our employees who have participated in our vaccination process should be 14 days past full vaccination.”

Presley also reported the district had administered 53 antigen tests for COVID to staff members who requested them from February through Friday, April 23. Of those tests, 52 returned negative results and only one positive test.

Of the total 53 tests requests, only three were requested and administered during April, marking a significant decrease, Presley said.

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