‘We must do more’: Conroe ISD moves to ‘Alert Level 4′ with hundreds of new COVID-19 cases daily

Level 4: Significant cases

CONROE – With COVID-19 spreading throughout Conroe ISD so quickly, the district moved to Alert Level 4, which is the second-highest level and one level away from considering shutting down campuses and even the entire district.

“The coming days are critical,” the district said in a memo to staff Thursday night. “We appreciate all that you do, but we must do more to protect this school year for our students and families.”

By end of school on Friday, 1,630 students and staff were in isolation, either testing positive for COVID-19 or showing symptoms. The district said 1,487 of the 1,630 in isolation are students.

“If the cases keep going up and things just continue as they are, I’m just not sure the current model of school is sustainable,” said Christi Adamick, a parent at Oak Ridge High.

“I had a child sitting right next to my daughter with COVID-19,” said Deandra Gray, a parent at the high school. “We had the school at half operation last year with masks, then you bring us all back full throttle with optional masks.”

CHARTS: Track active COVID-19 cases in Houston-area school districts

Alert Level 4 at Conroe ISD means “significant cases within the building/community.” It also means large gatherings, unnecessary travel, and outside visitors and guests will be limited, and nonessential school events will be canceled on a case by case basis.

In its memo to staff, the district said the move to “Level 4” was necessary, in part, due to more staff members testing positive in the first days of the school year than all of last year.

The memo also mentioned that only 50% or so of eligible Montgomery County residents are vaccinated, and that hospitals recently surpassed the all-time high number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

The positivity rate in the county is at 23%, the memo also noted.

At “Level 5,” when there are “widespread cases within the building/community,” Conroe ISD will “consider closing campuses” and even “the entire district in consultation with the Montgomery County Health Department.”

The staff memo noted that because the TEA does not offer widespread virtual learning support, “any minutes missed due to a closure will have to be made up by either lengthening the school day or adding days to the calendar, or a combination of both.”

RELATED: Houston-area schools reporting thousands of active COVID-19 cases as school year begins

Many students and parents KPRC 2 talked to outside Oak Ridge High School on Friday lamented the lack of a mask mandate.

“I have family members that are immunocompromised and I’m worried about them,” said 11th-grader Emily Anthony. “I always make sure to wear my mask.”

The district has moved to the second-highest alert level


An earlier version of this article mistakenly applied statistics on isolation rates for one Conroe ISD school to the entire district. This information has been removed.