Additional reporting by Avery Meneses

Fossil Ridge High School has transitioned into a two week quarantine for all staff and students after a number of employees came in contact with someone with COVID-19, and Timber Creek has also had to quarantine at least one large group due to the virus.

Entire Fossil Ridge High School Quarantined Until Sept. 30

The school was pushed after more cases were confirmed throughout the week to take the right safety protocols by ordering that a quarantine be in place for 14 days. There are a total of 12 confirmed cases so far in the school alone. The quarantine started Sept. 16 and will end on Sept. 30.

In an email to Keller ISD families and employees from Keller ISD, it was announced that the school would be going into the two week quarantine and explained why it was needed. Students and faculty will not start online classes until Sept. 21 in order to give teachers a chance to gather everything they will need for online learning.

“We want to continue to provide our students with the most consistent educational experience without additional interruptions and be sure we are not overwhelming our employees remaining on campus,” Keller ISD said.

When the decision was made that the school would be put under quarantine, Fossil Ridge parents and students were notified via email and a phone call. Keller ISD expressed that any school under KISD would receive similar notifications of a quarantine if it is needed.

Read the full email below.

Keller ISD Families and Employees,

We wanted to make you aware that, due to the high number of employees Fossil Ridge High School currently has at home as a result of being identified as close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case, Keller ISD is transitioning all FRHS employees and students to remote learning for 14 days, beginning Wednesday, September 16.

While there are a small number of confirmed positive student and staff cases on the campus, it is our adherence to our safety protocols and quarantine guidelines that have left the campus short-staffed. We want to continue to provide our students with the most consistent educational experience without additional interruptions and be sure we are not overwhelming our employees remaining on campus.

Fossil Ridge students and employees will be allowed to return to campus on Wednesday, September 30.

The school’s families should have received emails and phone calls about the remote transition earlier this evening. Moving forward, all Keller ISD employees and families can expect to receive a similar, district-wide notification any time the District needs to transition an entire campus to remote learning.

Following the announcement, Keller ISD Superintendent Dr. Rick Westfall created video to help explain the situation at Fossil Ridge.

Over 120 TCHS Students and Teachers Quarantined

As of right now, neither Keller ISD officials nor Timber Creek administrators have officially announced how many students or which groups have been sent home to quarantine due to COVID exposure. However, on Sept. 16, Principal Michelle Somerhalder e-mailed the TCHS community notifying them that there was a confirmed COVID case on campus. Read her full e-mail below:

Timber Creek High School Families and Employees,

I wanted to let you know that we have received a report of a positive, COVID-19 student case at Timber Creek High School. Due to issues of confidentiality, we cannot share the name of the individual.

Those who have been determined to be “close contacts” of the positive case have been contacted and will be asked to remain home for the next 14 days.

As a reminder, students and employees should not come to school if exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they know they have recently come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please remember to maintain a distance of six feet from others, whenever possible, throughout the school day, and don’t forget to complete the daily self-screening before arriving on campus. As a reminder, those screenings can be found at www.KellerISD.net/StudentScreening for students and www.KellerISD.net/Screening for employees.

Thank you for support for our school and continued compliance with Keller ISD’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Sincerely,
Michelle Somerhalder
Principal
Timber Creek High School

As noted in the e-mail, issues of confidentially preclude the identification of the student who received the COVID positive test, however the impact is being felt beyond that single confirmation.

Talon has independently confirmed over 120 students and/or teachers have been quarantined due to COVID so far this year, and that number may be far lower than we’ve been able to identify.

In previous communications with Keller ISD District officials, the suggestion has been made to include quarantined students to the Keller ISD COVID Dashboard, however a decision on that action has yet to be taken.

Find the full dashboard here: https://veoci.com/v/p/dashboard/uyn4axmq7p or on the top of every Talon page.

Keller ISD COVID/Quarantine Announcement Plans

Previous to these two notifications, Keller ISD sent out an email on Sept. 3 on what to expect if someone gets COVID-19. If a student or staff gets COVID-19 the people who have had direct contact will be notified immediately. Tarrant County Public Health will provide more information and instruct those who have been in contact to quarantine.

For Timber Creek, Mrs. Somerhalder will send out an email to the Timber Creek community after close contact people have been notified — which is what happened with the Sept. 16 e-mail. The student or staff who has tested positive will not be named or identified.

For each positive case on campuses, Keller ISD will not make an individual announcement, except to that impacted campus. For example, if there is a positive test at an elementary school, the high school in that feeder pattern will not be notified. However, as previously mentioned and linked, there is a dashboard that logs all the active cases and inactive cases. There you can see all the schools in Keller ISD and all the cases those school have or have had.

By Aleena Davis

Editor-In-Chief for Talon and a senior who loves writing, photography and dogs.

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