The school will now be 100% virtual for the next 14 days, says the district, including an early dismissal Wednesday. In-person learning will not take place until Thursday, Feb. 25.
Hays CISD says that the Hays County Local Health Department notified the district Wednesday that the individual in the county who tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19 is a DMS student who was asymptomatic.
Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright made the decision to switch to virtual learning to allow the district time to conduct contact tracing, thoroughly sanitize and disinfect the campus and allow the virus incubation period to pass.
"I know that learning this news may be concerning for our parents, students, and employees. I want to assure our school district family and our community that we have a strong team in place, both at the district and in the county, that continues to work diligently to keep us safe and to try to stay one step ahead of the spread of this virus," said Dr. Wright in a release. "Knowing that the UK variant has arrived is an unequivocal reminder that we have to remain vigilant with the tools we have at our disposal – masks, spatial distancing, handwashing, and not gathering in groups."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the UK variant of COVID-19 is more contagious and may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variant viruses, though health officials said more data is needed to substantiate that finding.
A recent study, posted Sunday on the preprint server MedRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed, determined that the U.K. variant arrived in the U.S. as early as late November, though it wasn’t detected until late December.
To date, the CDC has detected at least 690 cases of the U.K. variant in 33 states. Another troubling variant tied to Brazil and a third discovered in South Africa have also been detected in the U.S. and are also expected to spread.