Smithville ISD Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19
May 13, 2020
Parents and Staff,
Smithville ISD has been notified that a female employee, who works for the child nutrition department in the Junior High cafeteria, has tested positive for COVID-19. This employee also distributed meals at the Ponderosa/Highway 71 and Bluebonnet Circle remote food distribution sites on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The Smithville ISD employee followed district protocol and was wearing all required Personal Protective Equipment including mask, gloves and disposable apron, while working.
The Junior High cafeteria will be closed until May 27, 2020 and will be commercially cleaned prior to reopening. All District employees and community members who utilized either the Ponderosa/Highway 71 or Bluebonnet Circle site are instructed to continue to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations and to practice social distancing.
Based on the information that we have gathered, it has been determined that the end of the 14-day incubation period for anyone possibly exposed on campus, or at the remote sites, to the employee is May 20, 2020.
Out of an abundance of caution, we advise you to monitor your health, follow the CDC guidelines for people who have had close contact and contact your primary care physician if you develop symptoms.
Smithville ISD is continuing to monitor this situation and will provide additional information as needed. We hope for a successful recovery for our Smithville ISD staff member.
Superintendent of Schools
Dear Tiger Families,
Governor Greg Abbott announced today continued social distancing measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including keeping schools closed. In compliance with the Governor’s amended order, Smithville ISD will remain closed through the end of the spring semester.
When we left school for Spring Break, we never would have imagined not getting to see the faces of our students and staff again this year, but we know the health and safety of our Tiger family is of the utmost importance. With that being said, we have some important items to share with you regarding the extended closure of our school district:
Meals -- Curbside Meal distribution will continue on Mondays and Wednesdays at the school-based sites and five mobile sites. Menus are updated weekly and information/reminds are being sent to families on Monday and Wednesday mornings regarding menus.
Home Learning -- All students should be actively engaged with either Google Classroom, paper packets or both. Please reach out to teachers if your child has not been contacted or is not engaged in learning. A full listing of teacher emails is available on our website at www.smithvilleisd.org. (Select the SISD Home Learning link and then your child’s campus. Contact and virtual office hours are listed there.)
Grading Guidelines -- We have developed grading guidelines that will hold students accountable for their continued learning and growth but also takes into account this unique environment we find ourselves in. This new grading policy is pending Board Approval on Monday, April 20, 2020. Once the grading policy is adopted we will share the information with you.
End of Year Events -- Because school has been canceled for the remainder of this semester, all end of year events (e.g., awards assemblies, banquets, concerts) have been canceled as well, with the limited exception of certain senior events. Our high school campus administrative team, along with district administration, are discussing plans on how best to fulfill the events that are most important to our seniors and their families; namely the scholarship/awards night and graduation. Graduation is an important milestone in a student’s life and we want to do our best to honor this achievement, in some capacity.
Finally, being isolated from one another is difficult and can be trying at times. We have and will continue to utilize our mass communication system to reach out with daily positive text messages during the school week. We are also engaging with our Tiger families via Facebook and Instagram with the sharing of positive messages and events. We are #TigerStrong and want to remind you that #SISDCares and what we do we always do #FortheKids.
We know this is an uncommon time for all of us and we appreciate your cooperation and support. We are ALL doing our best during this time – from students and parents, to teachers and staff, from the child nutrition staff and ACE staff to our maintenance/transportation staff – and we thank you! We are blessed to work and live in a community where our collective actions are what truly define who we are. We are Smithville, TX! As with any challenge we have ever faced, we are all Tiger Strong and will complete this unique school year in the best light possible, for the kids!
Judge Paul Pape Bastrop County Judge
STATEMENT ANNOUNCING AMENDED COVID-19 ORDER
Today I have amended my Bastrop County COVID-19 Order #1 to include additional measures as we continue the fight to slow the spread of this deadly virus.
As of now, we have announced, and posted, that 18 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Bastrop County, including 1 fatality. Our sincere condolences go out to the family of this 58- year-old gentleman.
We know that there are more cases, perhaps many more, in our County. With more testing, the number of confirmed cases will rise.
The good news from the President’s advisors is that the mitigation efforts being put forth are working. Social distancing is slowing the spread of the virus. According to the Center for Disease Control, the next step is for all of us to wear a simple face covering when out in public. This will help in a couple of ways. First, it will prevent the spread of droplets while speaking, or from a cough or sneeze. Second, and I think just as important, it signifies that we all know we are in an unprecedented health crisis pandemic and that we are doing our little part in the fight to slow it down.
In my amended order, called Bastrop County COVID-19 ORDER #1 A, effective at 11:59 p.m., on April 9, 2020, I am closing all of the Bastrop County Parks. Yesterday, Governor Abbott announced the closing of all state parks and historical sites. Each of our mayors, Mayor Schroeder of Bastrop, Mayor Cannon of Elgin and Mayor Saunders of Smithville, have also closed their city parks. This action is to prevent gatherings in these public places and reduce the potential spread of the virus to others.
The second part of my amended Order addresses the CDCs recommendations on mitigation efforts. I am therefore ordering that all persons follow the CDC guidelines to Prevent Getting Sick, including social distancing and face coverings. These guidelines are published on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/
These guidelines must be followed by every person in Bastrop County in three specific scenarios:
The CDC is clear that a face covering can be as simple as a bandana or as fancy as a custom-designed masterpiece sewn together by Grandmother. The point is that it must cover the nose and mouth at all times.
I appreciate the efforts being put forth by so many retailers and store owners to do their part in this battle. Most if not all have developed and implemented the safeguards I put in place last week. I’m confident that they will continue to support us in our efforts to slow the contagion of this virus.
I am also very proud of and thankful for the team of over 50 local and community leaders working in our Emergency Operations Center. These men and women are the best in the business. They are meeting needs, answering questions, and developing resources to deal with whatever may come. They are like a fine-tuned machine, working under my direction, along with our deputy director of Emergency Management Christine Files and our Local Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes.
In closing, our message is clear and simple: Stay Home Bastrop County. If you must go out for essential goods or services, practice proven mitigation – social distancing and face covering. We are in this together and together we will conquer this foe and build a better world for our future. May God bless you and may God bless Bastrop County. - Judge Paul Pape
JOINT STATEMENT FROM BASTROP COUNTY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
(Includes Bastrop County, City of Bastrop, City of Elgin, City of Smithville)
BASTROP COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY CONFIRMS FIRST LOCAL DEATH
April 6, 2020
The Bastrop County Health Authority has confirmed the first local death from the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was a 58-year-old male from Elgin, in northern Bastrop County.
“Know that the prayers of Bastrop County are with this family as they mourn their loss,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Bastrop County Health Authority. “We strongly recommend that all Bastrop County residents, workers, students, and visitors take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19. We continue working with local, state, federal, and community partners to prevent future cases and to educate those in Bastrop County about how to avoid contracting COVID-19.”
“This troubling news hits close to home,” said Elgin Mayor Chris Cannon. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Again, I ask everyone to please take this situation seriously and limit contact with others.”
Although most individuals who contract the virus will not need medical care, residents who develop low to moderate fever, cough, and shortness of breath are encouraged to contact their primary care physician and to follow their advice.
“We extend our deepest condolences to this citizens’ loved ones in the wake of this loss,” said County Judge Paul Pape. “This tragic outcome is clear evidence of the gravity of the world-wide pandemic. Please take all precautions to avoid exposure to this deadly virus.”
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Bastrop County as of today is 11, including this victim. One other patient has recovered and been released by their doctor.
The best way to protect yourself and your family is to take the following preventive actions to avoid exposure:
Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus. Official information will come by and through the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management as a press release or statement using the OEM social media or other news outlets. You can trust what comes from our Public Information Officers working together in our Joint Information Center.
“Older citizens in our community and those with underlying health conditions or a compromised immune system tend to be more susceptible to COVID-19,” said Bastrop County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “These residents should be in immediate contact with their health care provider should they develop a fever, cough or experience shortness of breath.”