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As Burnet County sees an uptick in active COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant, the Marble Falls Independent School District is determining its COVID-19 response protocols for the upcoming school year. On Aug. 2, the district published a Facebook post outlining its current rules.

Safety protocols currently include heightened cleanliness and sanitation procedures, such as sanitizing “high-touch” surfaces like desks and doorknobs and asking students to use refillable water bottles instead of water fountains. 

Depending on guidance offered by the Texas Education Agency later in the week, these protocols could change, Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen told An updated health and safety plan will be made available on the district’s website by Friday, Aug. 6.

Students who test positive for the virus or unvaccinated students who come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 will be required to quarantine before returning to class. If the student has been vaccinated and comes into close contact with a COVID-19 case, quarantine will not be required.

“That decision is a combination of (Texas Department of State Health Services) guidelines and interpretation at the local level, the local medical level,” Allen explained. 

Allen said this includes input from Dr. Jules Madrigal, the Burnet County local health authority. 

“Quarantine is only 10 days now,” Allen said. “If you get a negative test after seven days, you can come back. As it stands right now, we expect some of that to shift with information we should be getting (from the TEA) by the end of this week.”

Face coverings will not be required on school property. This follows an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits public schools from enforcing mask use. Individuals still have the option to wear a mask, and the district is strongly urging that unvaccinated students and teachers do so. 

Remote learning will not be available for students as it was last year because of decreased effectiveness and state requirements that make remote learning options difficult to implement, according to the Facebook post. 

“If you are absent, you will be counted absent,” Allen explained. “You will have to make up the work. We don’t currently offer any (remote learning).”