District Closes Schools Due to COVID-19

Haley Bass, Staff Writer

UPDATE: After the governor’s announcement on March 19, schools are closed until April 3. His statement can be found HERE. This story has been edited to show that information.

Superintendent Stan Surratt announced on March 13 that Lindale ISD will close its schools during the week of March 16 – 20 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes the cancellation of all UIL extracurricular events, games, and practices. The governor has closed all schools until April 3, 2020 and UIL has postponed all events/practices until May 4.

“We are encouraging all families to take this epidemic seriously,” superintendent Stan Surratt said. “Please keep our schools, community and nation in your prayers.”

Texas governor Greg Abbott announced in a press conference on Friday, March 13 that the state of Texas has declared a declaration of state disaster in all counties. This decision authorizes the use of any available and necessary state and government resources to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, all UIL events have been suspended until after March 29 or possibly later.

“Because of the Coronavirus, I can’t play tennis right now,” senior John Nilson said. “It feels terrible to be kept away from my favorite activity.”

As of March 14, KLTV reports that four people in Smith County have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The CDC recommends that individuals practice “social distancing” in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. 

“Please limit travel and large group gatherings,” Surratt said. “By limiting large group gatherings and practicing social distancing, we as a community can slow the spread of this virus.”

For students on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, bagged lunches will be available for pick-up starting Monday, March 16, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the E J Moss EAST cafeteria. This will continue daily until students return back to school. Smith County superintendents and county health officials will meet again next week to determine if a longer school closure is necessary.

“All I want is to be able to enjoy my last soccer game as a senior, my last month of school as a senior including senior skip days and the senior picnic,” senior Bella Johnson said. “Because of the pandemic I might not get to experience these last moments.”

More information on dealing with COVID-19 can be found at the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html