Stop the Spread of Covid at Dahlstrom Middle School

Stop the Spread of Covid at Dahlstrom Middle School

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Dahlstrom Parent started this petition to Superintendant Wright & Hays CISD Board of Trustees

Dear Superintendent Wright and Members of the Hays CISD School Board:

Dahlstrom Middle School students require your help. Covid is running rampant through the school due to overcrowding and ongoing construction limiting the use of outdoor spaces.

​Dahlstrom educates 4.5% of the Hays CISD student population but is generating 15% of student and 7.9% of the staff Covid cases in the district. Dahlstrom has the most cases of any HCISD campus with a cumulative total of 76 staff and student cases after 14 days of school. This total is more than double what most high school campuses with twice the number of students are reporting.

According to the principal, Ms. Dedrah Ginn, there are 967 students enrolled at DMS. The building has a functional capacity of 855 according to Hays CISD documents. This overcrowding would be a challenge in a normal year but is a health and safety threat with a highly contagious airborne virus in circulation. Outdoor spaces that were used last year for lunch and outdoor instruction are now off limits restricting students to very close quarters for 7.5 hours 5 days a week. 

Contributors to the high rates of Covid infection at DMS:

  • Three lunch periods for 967 students with no space to socially distance
  • No accessible outdoor space for lunch or instruction
  • No alternate indoor space for socially distanced lunch
  • Nine passing periods where the entire campus is in the hallway at the same time
  • ​Low rates of masking by students and staff
  • Limitations due to overcrowding and construction

Hays CISD has a moral and legal obligation to keep the students in its charge safe. From a parent perspective, it doesn't appear that any of the CDC suggested mitigation strategies are being implemented.

The simplest, easiest and most affordable mitigation strategy, masking, is reportedly not being used by most of the people on campus. Though Hays CISD is not willing to issue a mask mandate - for various and sundry reasons - much more could be done to strongly encourage mask wearing. Messaging via phone and email, prominent signs at all building entrances and on district webpages touting the efficacy of masks would be a great start. Expanding the masking program that was rolled out for elementary students to all levels would be another great step. Please don't forget that middle schools have a significant number of 6th graders not old enough to be vaccinated and experience an exponentially higher number of close person to person contacts than PK-5. 

Other recommended strategies:

  • Take a stand with a clear message that masks work and vaccines are safe!
  • Open windows where they are available
  • Provide air purifiers
  • Require quarantine for close contacts
  • Contact trace and notify actual close contacts so the right people can quarantine
  • Shut down the campus at a lower threshold than 10% of population infected in a week
  • Vaccine clinics on campus or a nearby location
  • Require regular testing and do it onsite
  • Incentivize staff to wear masks and get vaccinated
  • Move to a block schedule
  • Alternate days that students attend to reduce the number of students on campus each day
  • Allow students to choose to attend a less crowded campus and provide transportation
  • Quality virtual learning for all who choose it without restriction

Most of these strategies are not easily implemented and some cost a lot of money or require human capital that is in short supply. That does not relieve you of the responsibility to take real and effective action to reduce the spread of Covid at Dahlstrom. Convene a committee to make decisions, set a short timeline for implementation and make something happen. The current tactic of doing nothing will result in more of the same and likely a tragic outcome for some family or employee that trusted you to do better.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!