Coronavirus outbreak in a small West Texas town has shut down businesses and forced staff and students in its school district to quarantine for two weeks.
This comes as students had returned to classrooms in Iraan, Texas, for only a week when they were told their schools would have to be closed because of the outbreak, Tracy Canter, superintendent of the Iraan-Sheffield Independent School District, stated in a letter to the community posted on the district’s Facebook page.
The letter stated that a leadership team had to make the decision to quarantine for the next two weeks. “This decision was made to ensure the safety of our students and staff; as well as to make certain that we have appropriate staff available for each campus,” it said.
“We know that this is difficult for everyone involved and we thank you for your support and patience during this unprecedented time,” Canter said in the letter, according to NBC News.
Canter did not specify in the letter how many people tested positive for the virus but encouraged everyone to take the orders to quarantine seriously. “This means that students and staff will quarantine only with immediate family,” she said, adding: “They should not be out and about in the community or hanging out with friends. The only way that this will work is if everyone does their part.”
The superintendent also said that before the shutdown, 23 percent of the district’s staff was out because they had either tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19, according to The Texas Tribune. The Tribune also reported that the numbers were higher compared to what the district saw last year.
The outbreak also forced businesses in Iraan to close down according to USA Today. Iraan General Hospital CEO Jason Rybolt said 119 people were tested for the virus and 50 of them were positive in two weeks this month.
The small town has a hospital with only a capacity of 14 beds and cannot provide critical care services, according to reports by The Texas Tribune.
According to John Hopkins University research data, the average daily new cases in Texas was recorded at 16,000 last week compared to the 1,495 daily new cases in Texas last June 30. State health officials report that hospitalizations due to COVID19 had reached levels they have never seen since the start of the year.
Just last week, another three school districts in Texas shut down school campuses due to the virus.
It is a known fact that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order last month prohibiting vaccination and mask mandates despite negative reactions from local officials and school districts. Harris and Tarrant County defied the orders.