Comal ISD Superintendent Sends Prayers to Students/Staff with COVID-19
In an email Thursday, Comal ISD Supt. Andrew Kim asked faculty and staff to join him in praying for the speedy recovery and health of students and staff with COVID-19.
He said he meets daily with staff to review positive cases and protocols but did not elaborate further.
“Certainly our days are clouded by concerns of COVID and the positive cases that we are tracking,” Kim said. “…Last year worked because we took care of one another, and I will keep asking that we do that again. Our school district is strong because we come together.”
Comal ISD will continue to encourage mask-wearing and asks people to use its health screener and to exercise caution at activities and events outside of school hours, Kim said. The district will adhere to its cleaning protocols as well.
“We will keep monitoring and reviewing our work,” he said.
Kate Fraser, a middle-school teacher, said several teachers who received Kim’s email aren’t interested in thoughts and prayers.
“I’m really tired of hearing our district leadership offer their thoughts and prayers and take little to no action to actually protect the health and well-being of staff and students within our district,” she said.
“God may appreciate the prayer but I think God might appreciate us taking action to protect ourselves instead of relying on God’s grace to bail us out of an avoidable situation…We got through last year because we actually tried to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.”
A high-school teacher who agreed only to speak off-the-record and through Open Comal County Schools Safely administrators, fearing reprisals from the district, said Kim’s email sparked mirth in some quarters.
“Several of us laughed at that email, I don’t know what protocols he’s talking about because there are none that we are aware of,” she said. “Oh, we were informed about if we are positive to stay home, but that’s pretty much it. I especially laugh at encouraging people to wear masks. This starts from the top, and when our superintendent and administrators are not wearing masks in schools, how can we expect our children to wear masks? It’s rare to see administrators wearing masks. I saw a slight increase towards the end of this week, but not enough.”
Reaction to Kim’s email was mixed on Open Comal County Schools Safely, where one parent said she supports Kim for doing the best he can in the “toughest spot imaginable.”
The Comal ISD superintendent landed himself in another tough spot late last week after the district’s IT Department, posing as the district’s Human Resources Department, sent a “phishing” email to employees asking them to verify their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Phishing emails are designed to trick unsuspecting individuals into clicking on a link that would cause them to reveal sensitive information or deploy malicious software if sent by an actual hacker.
Kim apologized afterward for this email:
“All, we are learning of new and strict requirements from the county with regards to tracking Covid vaccinations. All employees are required to complete the Covid vaccinations form and return it to HR as soon as possible.
“This is a mandatory requirement to complete the linked form below regarding your vaccination status. Please complete this form by the end of the day.”
On Friday, Kim acknowledged that COVID-19 is a sensitive topic for employees and asked them to disregard the email.
“If you recently checked your email accounts, you might have received a phishing email regarding vaccination from HR Department. This is false and a phishing email! Please disregard if you have clicked on it.
“Moreover, this email was generated by us to conduct our cyber security work within our network structure, and it was in poor taste and not considerate of the sensitivity that we have today with the topic. To that, I offer my apologizes (sic).
“No doubt, we will need to conduct cyber-security tests and we will do a (sic) better.”
Thursday’s Email from Kim to Comal ISD Staff
I don’t know about you, but we have had one of the best and toughest school starts in my memory. Our transportation department, led by Jessica Fischer, made busing work even with vacancies among our drivers (yes, we need them and more, so please send candidates). Our front office staff at campuses with our campus registrars enrolled 26,900 students this past week which is a record-setting enrollment.
We received word this week that Comal ISD will be honored again as a District of Distinction for our visual arts by the Texas Art Education Association. This is huge and I would like to thank and congratulate our art teachers across our district and our Fine Arts Department led by Carla Schumann.
And we are enjoying the competition demonstrated by our student-athletes at cross-country meets, volleyball, and football. It is awesome to see our students perform and win! To this, I must thank our coaches, athletic trainers, and supporting sponsors of our cheer/dance and marching bands. Thank you!
A huge gratitude to our maintenance staff and custodians! I don’t need to go into details here…because you know! They deserve a huge thanks! And our meals at breakfast and lunch have been fantastic! So, thank you to our child nutrition department.
I must thank you as well for making the first week a great start! I appreciate what you have already accomplished. Thank you for making US history great. Thank you for improving our fluency in reading. Thank you for using remind to remind about our classwork. Thank you for making math important. Your work is important, and students are excited to be back in school.
No doubt, traffic is everywhere, and it does take a little longer to get to Whataburger. You can tell that our community is growing with more people because the lines for a patty melt with large fries is taking a lot longer.
Certainly, our days are clouded by concerns of COVID and the positive cases that we are tracking. To this, please pray with me for speedy recovery and health to those in our district and community. Each day, I am meeting with staff to review our positive cases and protocols. We will continue to encourage mask-wearing, adhering to our cleaning protocols, asking everyone to use our health screener, and be cautious at activities and events outside of school hours. We will keep monitoring and reviewing our work.
Last year worked because we took care of one another, and I will keep asking that we do that again. Our school district is strong because we work together. As we welcome this three-day weekend (Labor Day), please keep each other in your hearts and prayers. Truly, let us celebrate all the blessings we have and rest this weekend with enjoyment and laughter.
Be safe and practice all precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus. And let our Friday be Friday with volleyball and Friday Night Lights, and Saturday be Saturday with college football, Sunday be Sunday, and Monday be the most restful Monday.
Thank you for all that you do, and I am grateful to work with you each day.