Hundreds absent at Kingwood High School as COVID cases climb

The COVID surge seems to be slowing down at some Houston area school districts. But not at Humble ISD, where hundreds of new cases are reported every day.

At Kingwood High School, 107 students have reported testing positive since school started, including 80 cases considered “active.”

“I feel that they should keep the same protocols as they had last year,” said Heather Morgan, a Kingwood High parent. “It’s no longer an issue of individual choice. It’s about saving lives.”

Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen emailed parents Wednesday night outlining some changes, including easing attendance rules for exams and bringing back testing for teachers. The lengthy email also urged those with symptoms to stay home.

“Dr. Fagen is doing a phenomenal job keeping us going in the right direction,” said Heather Keaton, a Kingwood High parent.

“I think the district is doing a good job in a difficult situation,” said another parent, Stewart Nelson.

“I think they’re doing the best they can,” said parent Mitch Rausch. “COVID is just a hard thing to follow.”

Nearly 5% of staff throughout the district have also tested positive, according to the Humble ISD dashboard. About 150 of those cases are still “active.”

Many parents are not satisfied with the district’s response, including the newly formed group Humble Parents Care, which wrote this lengthy email to the district today.

“If the number of cases is increasing like that, I think they need to take some stronger action,” said Kingwood high parent Tim Daily.

“Everything seems to be going on as normal,” said parent Thomas Frank. “The kids are still going to pep rallies still having school dances. And we feel like those are important things for the kids but you know maybe we ought to take a step back and just think about this for the time being.”

Humble ISD told KPRC 2 that pep rallies and some other activities are optional, just like masks.

The district’s dashboard is updated every evening with newly reported cases. Humble ISD said they are “committed to keeping schools open,” no matter what.

Here is the full letter from Humble ISD Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen:

Here is the full letter from Humble Parents Care: