All Kindergarten Teachers at Kinder Ranch Test Positive for COVID-19
All of the kindergarten teachers at Comal ISD’s Kinder Ranch Elementary School (KRES) in San Antonio have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email from a teacher that was shared today on the Open Comal County Schools Safely Facebook page.
Olivia Weisinger, an administrator for the page, declined to name the teacher and redacted parts of her email to protect her anonymity. The email was forwarded to Open Comal County Schools Safely by a Kinder Ranch parent.
In the email, the teacher wrote:
“Good afternoon, there will be an official letter sent out soon, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know the following…All teachers in kindergarten have tested positive for covid over the last few days. I will not return to school till September 13th. Although it is optional, I would encourage wearing a mask to school. Please talk to your child about the importance of handwashing and keeping hands to self. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your partnership. Take care.”
Comal ISD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The district posts daily “active cases” at each school to Comalisd.org, but this number only reflects cases that are “self-reported” by parents and staff and does not show trends over time.
Some Comal ISD schools do release additional information, but reporting is inconsistent.
Earlier this week, for example, Smithson Valley Middle School Principal Aryn Standeford informed parents that four students/staff members from sixth, seventh and eighth grade tested positive.
“Close contacts” of these individuals are not required to quarantine.
A better way to get a snapshot of what’s happening on any given day in Comal ISD is to check graphs prepared by a parent of six Comal ISD students. Ben Toalson uses information provided on the district’s page to create his charts and maps, which are frequently shared to Open Comal Schools Safely’s Facebook page. Click here and here for daily updates.
Criticism — as well as support — for Comal ISD’s decision to send students back to school without masks and no mitigation efforts continues to build on social media.
After Comal ISD Supt. Andrew Kim today posted a Facebook video of himself “Cruisin’ Comal” with district demographer Bob Templeton, an angry parent responded with #cruisinwithcovid.
On the district’s Facebook page, she said all students in her child’s class at Spring Branch Middle School were herded into a closet today during an active shooter drill.
“All 26 students in my child’s class were locked down in a closet together to learn how to be ‘safe’ if there were an active shooter,” the parent said. “Can we come up with a protocol on how to keep our kids safe during an active pandemic? Anyone in Comal ISD attend a strategic planning meeting for if there were a health crisis, what could be done by the district to protect the children?
However, another parent said if he had to choose between COVID or getting vaccinated, he would pick COVID “all day long.”
On Thursday (Sept. 2) a KRES parent who works as a volunteer at the school but spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a third-grade teacher there is now hospitalized with the virus.
Open Comal County Schools Safely verified the parent’s identity.
The parent said she and others rely on the ‘mom’ network for information because the school only notifies grade-level parents of positive cases. She learned about the school’s kindergarten teachers through another parent of a kindergarten student.
The only recent communication from school administrators that she’s aware of related to the importance wearing masks and practicing good hand hygiene.
Parents are still allowed to join their students for lunch but she said she now limits her school visits to the carpool lane — where she’s noticed more teachers are now masked up.