HPISD Asks Parents, Staff To Report Some Travel

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that all HPISD athletic competitions have been postponed and the Seay Tennis Center will temporarily suspend operations until further notice)

Highland Park ISD this week asked families and staff planning to travel to certain countries report their travel plans using an electronic form as concerns grow in the area about the spread of COVID-19.

The district also announced that all their athletic competitions have been postponed and the Seay Tennis Center will suspend operations until further notice.

“We are being urged by local elected and health officials to take precautions to guard against community spread of the virus,” Athletic Director Johnny Ringo said. “This is a fluid situation. We will do our part to help keep everyone healthy and safe, and look forward to when we can get back on schedule.”

Specifically, Superintendent Tom Trigg issued a letter asking families and staff planning to travel to countries designated at an alert level 2 or 3 as designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), during spring break and beyond to report their travel plans. HPISD’s spring break is March 13-20. Level 3 countries include China, Iran, most of Europe, and South Korea, according to the CDC.

“If families or staff have traveled to a Level 2 or 3 affected area, individuals should self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to the U.S. as recommended by the CDC,” Trigg said in his letter to families and staff. “This particular virus has obviously raised anxiety levels among students, staff and parents. Our commitment to you, as educators, is to stay abreast of the latest developments, take the necessary precautions, plan for any contingency, expand our cleaning protocols, encourage proper hygiene to prevent the spread of disease and help our students understand this situation without creating an unhealthy level of concern.”

He added that maintenance staff will conduct a deep clean of all campuses, which will include disinfecting classrooms and surfaces, during spring break.

“Finally, while we certainly hope that our schools are never forced to close, we have begun planning for that possibility. We are in the process of examining best practices for content delivery and developing contingencies should that be necessary,” Trigg continued.

HPISD announced March 13 that they’re developing contingency plans in the event that an emergency school closure is necessary. It is too early to predict what action the district may take at this time about school activities following spring break.

The letter was issued March 11, the day Dallas County announced its third presumptive positive case of the novel coronavirus.

Dallas County then issued a declaration banning gatherings of 500 or more people after five new presumptive cases of COVID-19 were announced late Thursday night.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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