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COVID increase forces Howe HS students home

By Joshua Baethge
Van Alstyne Leader
At least 18 people at Howe High School have tested positive for COVID-19.

A rise in COVID-19 cases forced Howe ISD officials to suspend in-person learning at Howe High School for the week of Nov. 9- 13. All students reverted to at-home instruction during this time.

“As we have seen an increase in Grayson County COVID cases, it is no surprise that Howe is experiencing an increase as well,” Superintendent Kevin Wilson said in a Nov. 6 release to parents and students. “I encourage you to continue to be diligent in following common mitigation strategies—wearing face coverings in public, social distancing and frequent hand-washing. Our ability to keep our campuses open depends on all of us doing our part. 

At the time of the closure, a total of 18 students and staff members at the high school had tested positive for COVID-19. Wilson said that the decision to close the high school was made as an effort to limit additional exposure. 

The district also announced Nov. 8 that the boys coaching staff at Howe Middle School would be quarantined for two weeks, thus suspending most boy athletics through Nov. 20. This forced the cancellation of two boys basketball games as well as boys basketball practices and tryouts. 

Despite this, the middle school remained open for in-person learning after district officials determined that student exposure was limited and did not meet the definition of “close contact.”

Wilson says that the district plans to reopen the high school on Monday, Nov. 16. However, students who have been quarantined due to illness or close contact will complete their quarantines as originally determined. The district will also re-evaluate its plan if there are a comparable number of new coronavirus cases this week.