Sharyland ISD reports on new CDC guidelines after drive-thru clinic success

By Maria Ruiz 

The Sharyland school board disclosed new COVID-19 guideline updates following the success of last Thursday’s drive-thru community vaccination clinic on Monday evening. 

Mark Dougherty, executive director of facilities and risk management, gave an update to the Sharyland ISD vaccination clinic that opened up Thursday of last week. 

Sharyland ISD teamed up with the Hidalgo County Health Department, Hidalgo County Precinct 3, Mission CISD, and the City of Mission to establish the clinic.

The clinic, a two-day event, started in the early morning on Wednesday, January 27. Nurses from both Mission and Sharyland, custodians, and I.T. employees were among volunteers who helped in the registration and distribution process. 

“They were there, they were excited, [and] they were energetic about just helping the community,” said Dougherty. ”It almost seemed like they were fighting a war.” 

With a total of 1,000 doses for Thursday, Sharyland ISD made the elderly a priority

Irasema Islas-Cerda, the district’s head nurse and member of the Sharyland ISD health services, presented a review of new CDC guidelines. The guidelines prioritize the safety of school members and staff when it comes to self-quarantine and symptom screening. 

According to the CDC, those who are at high risk, with low immunity or an autoimmune disease, would have to quarantine for 20 days after the initial 10-day period.

If skeptical about receiving an opinion from a doctor but experiencing symptoms, it best to stay home and self isolate. 

Members who seek a medical opinion are preferred to go in person rather than attend a Telehealth screening. The lack of a physical diagnosis can make it uncertain to determine what illness the carrier has. 

For members who go to Telehealth sessions, an RT-PCR test is required and must be negative. 

When prodded on how the board was handling sending children back to school since they are not super spreaders, Vice President Dr. Noe Oliveria said they had it all wrong when COVID first began. 

“When COVID started, we had it all wrong. It was already here before 2020, but we didn’t know it,” said Oliveria. “Then they started to come out with rules. We’re still learning. One way to learn is to send them all back. And if there are spikes and the hospital numbers go up, then we were wrong.”

Dougherty stated that 88% of deaths caused by COVID-19 in Hidalgo County were citizens over 55-years-old. By accepting those only 65-years-old and older, the tier one members did not have to wait in line for long, as the board claimed it to be efficient. After twenty-minutes of initially posting about the vaccination clinic on social media, they reached their limit. 

As anxious citizens are awaiting a new arrival of doses, Dougherty said that they’re hoping to get more vaccines from the state. 

“They told us we may get a 24 or 48-hour notice if we’re lucky,” said Dougherty, claiming that the situation is not up to them, but the county.  “We have to wait until the county, City of Mission [says] we are ready to release this information. That’s one of the challenges we do face, making sure we’re all fair and there is integrity behind it.” 

Sharyland ISD held a second drive-thru Vaccination Clinic on Wednesday, February 4, for those who had chronic medical conditions that placed them at risk for COVID-19. As of 11 a.m., they had reached capacity. 

Before closing the board meeting, the trustees provided an update on a possible $40M bond election. Out of 22 eligible Facility Planning Committee members, 15 of them were counted through the survey, which roughly estimates to 68% of responses. 66% agreed to the bond election for May 2021, with 13% in disagreement and 20% undecided.

In concern of the bond election and it’s date, May 2021 ruled in favor of November 2021 with a 30% difference. A majority of 53.3% agreed that the amount was to remain at $40M, while 26.7% requested it be at $35, and 13.3% saying there shouldn’t be a bond election. Lastly, with the choice of choosing between one or two propositions (between A:$34 million and B:$6 million), 80% of the vote was in favor of only one, and the remaining 27% voting for two if Central Administration is involved.

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