With continued COVID surge, MLK event cancelled and some schools off until Tuesday

MLK event cancelled and some schools off until Tuesday

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light
Hundreds gathered during the annual MLK march in Waxahachie in 2020.

Ellis County continues to set new highs in COVID-19 cases, and that has impacted schools and special events.

As of Thursday, there were 5,162 active cases of COVID-19 in Ellis County, according to the Department of State Health Services. That’s up from 4,828 on Wednesday.

Ellis County has had an increase in active cases each day going back to Dec. 22. In just a week, the active cases have increased from 3,031 and 1,436 since Jan. 1.

According to the county, 212 out of 235 hospital beds in the county were occupied. All 15 ICU beds were occupied, and 10 of those were from COVID-19 patients.

With the rise in cases, the Waxahachie Branch NAACP 6240 cancelled its annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, which was set for Saturday.

Local schools were also impacted. Palmer ISD closed campuses Thursday and Friday after 216 students and 24 staff members were out with illnesses, said Superintendent Kevin Noack in a letter to parents. The cancellations also include extracurricular activities. With Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students are expected to return to class Tuesday.

“I realize this puts a hardship on our parents that are working,” Noack said in the letter, “however at this time we feel like it is the right thing to do.”

He concluded by saying the district would undergo a deep cleaning during the closures.

Maypearl ISD, Avalon ISD, also cancelled classes Thursday and Friday.

Red Oak ISD and Italy ISD changed Friday into a student holiday.

Waxahachie ISD announced Wednesday that it would continue with the district schedule as planned, which includes Monday’s MLK holiday.

“We believe the best place for students is in the classroom,” said Superintendent Jerry Hollingsworth in a letter to parents. “However, if your child exhibits any symptoms of illness, we ask that you keep them home from school. Our staff has been advised to do the same.”

Ferris and Milford ISDs remained open, and Ennis ISD closed schools to visitors.