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Marfa Schools Close After Students And Staff Member Test Positive For COVID-19

Carlos Morales
Marfa Public Radio
With the start of the school year only weeks away, parents with children at Marfa Independent School District are eying the fall with trepidation as administrators struggle to navigate the latest guidance from the state.

Five students and one employee at Marfa Independent School District have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, forcing officials to close the district's two campuses and shift to remote-instruction for the next week.

In a letter sent out to parents and guardians on Friday, the district's Superintendent Oscar Aguero outlined the timeline of events.

"We are notifying all students’ families that five students who were lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 were present on the Marfa Junior High/High School campus October 6, 2020."

Aguero confirmed that a staff member also tested positive.

"All facilities will be thoroughly disinfected according to our safety response protocol," continued Aguero's statement. "In addition, the local health department will conduct contact tracing investigations and notify those who have potentially been exposed."

Originally — as outlined by the district's protocols — campuses were expected to close for only two days since there were less than 10 confirmed cases.

But the district, according to Marfa High School principal Allison Scott, decided to close for a whole week when officials learned the staff member that tested positive works at both Marfa's elementary and junior high/high school campuses.

"Plus, some of our students who tested positive have siblings on the other campus," said Scott. "We decided to go ahead and go to remote for one week just as an added precaution."

The students and employee who tested positive all received their results on Friday, according to school officials.

The district will be closed Monday through Friday next week, as officials shift to remote instruction for all students. During this time campus officials say facilities will be disinfected according to their reopening plan.

Both of Marfa's schools will reopen for in-person instruction on Monday, Oct. 19.

The closure at Marfa ISD comes the same day as Alpine Independent School District announced students at Alpine High School may have been exposed to a person diagnosed with coronavirus.

This is a developing story.

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.