The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District is now able to administer rapid COVID-19 tests to staff, and possibly students in the future.
Four staff members have been trained in administering the tests, Dr. Rachel Jones, assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, told the board of trustees during its Dec. 15 meeting. The testing is voluntary and offered to staff who have symptoms or were in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Superintendent Keith McBurnett said the district hopes to make rapid testing available to students later on, but it is limited for now.
“It’s very time consuming when you only have four people in the district (qualified to administer the test),” he told the board.
That could change if the district finds a partnering organization to help with testing, he said.
The 15-minute response test is free to those getting it.
Marble Falls ISD on Dec. 14 also announced plans for rapid testing of staff and students.
Since the beginning of the year, BCISD has reported 49 positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff. Out of approximately 3,600 people, that comes out to about 1.4 percent.
McBurnett said cases are most likely contracted off campus.
“What we’re seeing is typically close contact at school, you’re not seeing transmission,” he told the board.
The district has endured one tragedy this year. On Dec. 6, Burnet Middle School Principal Jeremy LeJeune, 44, passed away at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. He had a rare blood vessel disorder but tested positive for COVID-19 during hospital admission.
A celebration of life service for LeJeune is 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at Hill Country Fellowship Church, 200 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet.
LeJeune had been on campus the week before his death, and the district had to quarantine several middle school staff members and administrators, forcing the campus to transition to remote learning Dec. 8-14. The school moved back to in-person learning Dec. 15.
McBurnett said the district still has 378 remote learners out of 3,081 students, about 12 percent.
Also during the Dec. 15 meeting, the board honored several students.
Burnet High School volleyball players Teagan Tappe, Karissa Killebrew, and Kyli Davis were named to the Texas High School Coaches Association Academic All-State Volleyball Team. The selection is based on several factors, including grade-point average, class rank, and SAT/ACT scores.
“This award is not just based on this year; it starts their freshmen year,” coach Crystal Shipley said at the meeting.
She also said her players’ achievement is a highlight of her career.
“This will go down as one of my favorite and most proud memories ever,” she said.
The board also recognized three R.J. Elementary School students in the district’s Christmas card design contest. Each year, the district selects a different campus to submit entires for the design.
Student Isabelle Ortiz’s design won first place and is the district’s official Christmas card. Cambree Carmichael was second, and Hailey Martin was third.
BCISD is on Christmas break Dec. 18-Jan. 5, 2021.