A South Texas school district has shut down until next week, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases among faculty members.

On Monday, Runge Independent School District in Karnes County announced they would be closing all schools until August 29. According to the schools’ COVID-19 tracker, ten staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. No students were listed as having contracted the virus. 

The school district currently serves 195 students and has 43 faculty members across all schools.

A letter sent earlier this week by RISD Superintendent Hector Dominguez Jr. notified staff and families of the closure. Runge ISD has also put extracurricular activities and team practices on hold. 

“The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and community is a top priority,” explained Dominguez. He also said a new instructional calendar would be presented soon to account for lost classroom time. 

Dominguez interviewed with a local news outlet, KENS 5, saying he decided to close the schools due to a lack of staff and resources. 

“We’re a very small school district, so we don’t have the resources that another large district would have to cover classes,” said Dominguez. 

During the 88th regular legislative session, State Rep. Brian Harrison (R-Midlothian) filed the “COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom Act.” 

The COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom Act would have required anyone administering a COVID-19 vaccine to obtain the recipient’s informed consent beforehand, authorized the attorney general to enforce this restriction, and required violators to pay damages of at least $5,000. 

Although the legislation made it out of the House Public Health Committee, it was eventually killed by the House Calendars Committee before a full chamber vote could be taken. 

Harrison told Texas Scorecard in light of the recent school closure, Texas lawmakers must take action against COVID mandates. 

“Texas should be leading the fight against COVID tyranny, but we aren’t even following,” said Harrison. “Despite Gov. Abbott demanding action, a majority in the House wanting to ban COVID mandates, and the Senate passing the Texas COVID Vaccine Freedom Act, why did the House Calendars Committee shockingly decide to allow unvaccinated Texans to be fired?”  

He added: “Texans are starving for bold conservative leadership, and I will not stop fighting until all COVID mandates are banned in Texas.”

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.