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The number of test-confirmed COVID-19 cases at Marble Falls High School totaled 26 staff and students for the month of November — a jump from September and October, which had five cases each, according to the Marble Falls Independent School District’s reporting page.

“We’re actually not seeing school-based spread,” MFISD Superintendent Chris Allen said. “What I mean by that is, when we have children in the school environment, we’re not seeing much of kids giving each other the virus at school. That’s because we are enforcing our protocols.”

Instances of students contracting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and transmitting it to other students seem to happen when they hang out at each other’s houses or engage in other social activities, Allen said.

“What you’re seeing in the schools mirrors what we’re seeing in the community,” he said. “As more and more people in the community choose not to wear masks and choose to attend events and functions that do not follow COVID protocols, you’re seeing a spread in the community.”

Pandemic fatigue might be one reason for a recent increase in cases, with people simply becoming tired of adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines. 

“Spread in the community inevitably leads to more students and staff getting the virus,” Allen said. “So, we just don’t have very much evidence at all to suggest that we have school-based spread, where a kid is getting it because they got the virus and they sat down next to a kid in English class who now has the virus.

“We’re also not seeing numbers go up in a way we can attribute to a lack of effective protocols in schools,” he added.

As of this story’s publication, the Texas Department of State Health Services reports 234 active cases in Burnet County and 74 active cases in Llano County.

“We’ve even talked about the potential for closure over time, and our conversation continues to go back to our kids tend to be safer where the protocols are in place,” Allen said. “We continue to move forward with the belief that we can keep schools open, so that’s what we’re going to do.”