Local health leaders share more details on spread of COVID-19 in Abilene schools

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Local public health leaders shared more details about the spread of COVID-19 in Taylor County during a meeting in City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

Health officials from the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District shared several updates concerning COVID-19, particularly that younger school-aged children are not catching the coronavirus at the same rate their older peers are.

“‘We’re mostly seeing these outbreaks in children of older age, not so much elementary other than staff,” said Dr. Annie Drachenberg, the ATCPHD’s Medical Director.

Dr. Drachenberg also shared that students are not catching the virus in the classroom but possibly after school during extra-curricular activities and while at home.

The doctor also shared that cancelling extra-curriculars would not be an overreaction from schools, because the action would send a clear message to students about priorities and personal duty during the pandemic.

“…And tell them the goal here is in-person education. Extra curriculars are very important too but let’s be clear we need to be careful,” said Dr. Drachenberg during her address in Tuesday’s meeting.

Epidemiologist Julia Agawu elaborated that similar action at higher education institutions had a positive impact on outbreaks at Abilene universities.

“At ACU [Abilene Christian University] they kind of had an explosion of cases. We talked with them and explained that although we want to go back to life with masks on, some things need to be cut back,” said Agawu.

Moving forward, the Health District encourages schools to improve COVID-19 culture on their campuses as it could reduce further spread in Key City Schools.

“When they [students] see that their school is promoting business as usual it’s easy in their private lives to be business as usual,” said Dr. Drachenberg.

BigCountryHomepage.com reached out to the Abilene Independent School District for a response on Tuesday’s meeting of health leaders, they said:

““Extracurricular activities are an important part of the entire educational experience, whether they be athletics, fine arts or other events. We have put into place several components to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 both at school and away from campuses, including limiting fans at events and games. We are constantly monitoring the situation in our district to determine if we need greater intervention, which could include further reducing spectators. Our goal is to continue to provide extracurricular activities for our students.”

Statement from Abilene ISD

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