Victoria County Local Health Authority Dr. John McNeill signed an order Monday requiring all public and private schools offering non-religious education within the county to suspend in-person classes through Sept. 7.
Schools offering religious education may continue to do so in-person but are strongly encouraged to use virtual instruction as an alternative.
The decision is a result of consultation between City of Victoria and Victoria County leadership, public health officials and education officials. Based on these discussions, community leaders determined that resuming face-to-face instruction before Sept. 7 would present a serious public health risk due to the high rate of community transmission of COVID-19 within Victoria County.
COVID-19 has the potential to spread more rapidly within schools “due to the necessity of large groups gathering in indoor spaces and the difficulty for children to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines,” according to the order. An early release article published July 16 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that COVID-19 spreads between children and that suspending in-person instruction significantly reduces the transmission of COVID-19.
Schools may not host extracurricular activities while face-to-face instruction is suspended. At least two weeks before resuming face-to-face instruction, each school or district must develop a reopening plan that will be submitted to McNeill and must be made available to the public. Schools may continue to host classes virtually while campuses are closed.
Local leaders continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 and may decide later to further delay the start of in-person instruction.
To view the full text of the new order and all previous City and County orders related to COVID-19, go to www.victoriatxoem.org. For information about COVID-19, call the local hotline at 361-580-5796.