Sweetwater ISD seeing lower rate of COVID-19 cases than surrounding areas

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SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The rate of new COVID-19 infections is decreasing in the Sweetwater Independent School District (SISD).

Superintendent Dr. Drew Howard says the extra protocols they put into place have been a key factor in seeing their COVID-19 cases within the schools decrease.

With only a crew of four, the head custodian at Sweetwater Independence School, Rosie Vera, goes into work early, preparing for a day’s worth of cleaning.  

“I enjoy coming to work every day,” said Vera.  

She’s been working as a custodian for more than 30 years, but these last two haven’t been easy. Not only because of the workload, but having to witness kids not being able to be kids. 

“It’s sad to see some of the kids using masks, and I want those masks to come off. I want the kids to be themselves and enjoy coming to school,” said Vera.  

Vera goes around with her HDQ Neutral solution where sprays the walls, student lockers, bathrooms, doorknobs, and in the classrooms. 

“It’s neat to see that our attendance rates are rising back up and starting to get more and more kids in school,” said Dr. Howard.  

Dr. Howard says although they have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in surrounding areas, they’ve seen a decrease in active cases within SISD.  

“Extra protocols have been put in place to clean between classes, the rails of the stairways between passing periods,” Howard says. “So, when the students are in class and they come out, it’s all sanitized and clean again for the students.” 

Howard says when the students are in school constantly, they have a safer, cleaner place to be than they would outside of school doors. 

Parents also play a role, he says, asking them to check their kids’ temperatures before dropping them off and keeping them home if they think they’ve been exposed to the virus. 

“We think positive every day, that’s one thing I try to tell my workers every day: ‘Think positive, keep going. I know it’s hard, but we’ve got to do it for the kids,’” said Vera.

Dr. Howard says he believes that because of new cleaning protocols for the staff and support of the parents in the community, attending classes in person has not been a major contributor in active cases rising in the counties within SISD to date. 

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