‘We’re really at a breaking point’: Superintendent talks shutting down schools amid community COVID spread


WEST SABINE, Texas (KETK) – Several East Texas schools are shutting down due to rising COVID-19 numbers.

West Sabine is among these closures. Superintendent Dr. Carnelius Gilder described his experience dealing with the virus locally.

“Our community really, we’re really at a breaking point,” Gilder said.

This may only be the beginning of the spread of COVID throughout East Texas schools. Wells, Gladewater, Kennard and more school districts have also announced shut-downs due to COVID spread.

“I had a lot of kids that showed positive, I had staff members showing positive,” Gilder said.

Despite the closures, some of these districts are still allowing extracurricular activities, athletic practices and games to go on for the middle school and high school levels.

Texas education leaders say COVID prevention, specifically wearing masks in schools, is a large challenge. Three districts, including Lufkin, have instituted mask mandates to try and limit the spread.

The Delta variant and low vaccination rates are the main drivers of these outbreaks.

“Last academic year we were advised to input cushion in our calendars in case that we did have to make decisions on closing,” Gilder said.

TEA Commissioner of Education Mike Morath spoke about COVID in the state.

“This issue got a lot of folks fired up,” Morath said. “It’s currently being litigated in the courts. We see studies on it that have proven saying one thing or another what does evidence say in our schools.”

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