COVID-19 isn't spreading inside the classroom, experts say, but here's where it is

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- During Thursday night's HISD school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan discussed the concerns over the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Houston community.

She shared a recent conversation she had with city health officials and revealed a question that has been at the top of many parents and educators' mind recently.

"Are we at a place where there's concern about spread on our campuses and across the community as it relates to us still offering face-to-face instruction and virtual for those who choose," said Lathan. "It is not the concern and actually they complimented what we've done to mitigate issues or prevent the spread."

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The compliment, she said, came from Dr. David Persse with the city of Houston's health department.

"I really want to give credit to all the superintendents, teachers, all they've done to make the schools safe," said Persse. "Our epidemiology shows we have had cases where there has been spread in the classroom, but it has not been what we anticipated. It's been far less than that," said Persse.

Experts say the virus is spreading more rapidly outside of the classroom.

"Where we're seeing spread among students is not in the classroom, it's amongst the sports teams, it amongst the after school clubs," explained Persse.

He went on to say, "What happens [and what] we're learning is kids are coming together, they're not wearing their masks, they're not social distancing and they're spreading the virus from one to another," said Persse.

Lathan said they are monitoring to see if extracurricular activities need to be scaled back. As far as the vaccine goes, the city of Houston is helping the district ensure staff that is eligible in group 1A and group 1B get the vaccine.

READ MORE: HISD begins vaccinating school first responders, with teachers up next in rollout plan

HISD is training its school nurses so they can give doses to teachers and staff. While not all teachers are able to get the vaccine yet, discussions are underway to make the process smoother once they can get it.

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