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School districts hope to avoid post Spring Break COVID spikes

Officials believe increased access to vaccinations may help keep cases under control.

HOUSTON — Social media messages were among the ways school districts reminded students to be careful during Spring Break.

“I didn’t take COVID-19 as seriously as I should have until I actually got it,” a student in a Cy-Fair ISD video. "I got really sick."

Case counts have gone up following every break this school year, including after Christmas break, when cases hit their highest levels in many districts.

"Yes, we’ve seen a spike after every one of our breaks," Spring ISD Police Chief Ken Culbreath said. "About a week to two weeks after the break, we’ve seen our numbers drastically climb.”

Culbreath also heads up the district’s office of emergency management and school safety.

"We have a program here where we ask our police officers and some of the safety staff to check the campuses to make sure protocols are in place,” Culbreath said.

Some protocols, like the recommended distance between desks, have recently changed.

RELATED: The CDC now says students can sit 3 feet apart in the classroom. Here's what it means for Houston-area schools

But Spring ISD and others saw some of their lowest active case counts just before Spring Break.

Increased immunizations may help them stay relatively stable in the coming days and weeks.

“I’m a teacher," said Kimberly Harrell as she waited on her first dose at a vaccination site. "So I’m really kind of ready to move on. Get this over with.”

Many hope next fall will look a lot different with everybody’s help.

"Everything that’s part of our safety system here," Culbreath said. "We try to revisit as often as possible. And so those precautions will remain in place through the remainder of the school year.”

Fort Bend ISD students get another week off this week thanks to teacher planning and training.

Here are Harris County Public Health's COVID recommendations for schools:

In-person instruction is vital for the educational development and social wellbeing of children and young adults. Many working families depend on education for social support such as food, childcare, social activities, and other types of assistance. But in-person school settings heavily rely on interpersonal contacts that increase the risk for COVID-19 transmission.