School is back in session, and there are already more student COVID-19 cases than at any point last school year.

Within the first couple weeks of classes, there have already been 20,256 reported cases among students in the Texas public school system. There have also been 7,488 cases of teachers that have tested positive for the coronavirus. This data is updated every Friday to include the data from the previous Monday through Sunday.

As of Sunday, August 22nd, 2021, there were 14,033 students actively reported with the coronavirus. This exceeds the highest number of cases from the previous school year, which was 10,487 students on January 10th, 2021.

For comparison, there were only 313 cases reported on August 23rd, 2020. The fact that we are already at such a high number shows just how bad the cases can get as this school year progresses.

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The Texas school districts with the highest number of reported cases are: Midland, Humble, Conroe, Corpus Christi and New Caney.

Many people are saying that this intense number of cases is due to public schools no longer being permitted to have a mask mandate in place, as well as continuing with school assemblies, rallies and dances as normal. I absolutely agree that the lack of masks and no social distancing is what's contributing to these cases.

Governor Greg Abbott has attempted to ban mask mandates from schools, but some schools have continued to enforce masks despite facing legal issues for their decision. There are even schools that have added masks to their dress code in order to find a loophole in the system.

Especially with the delta variant, I hope that these students are able to come out of this okay. It's been shown that this new coronavirus variant is much harsher and is even impacting younger people more than the alpha variant. It has also been shown to be 50 percent more contagious, leading to a higher chance of spreading the virus among peers.

We need to do what we can to protect our children and ensure their safety. Things are already starting to get worse than they were last year, and no one wants to see their children suffering due to schools not having mask mandates or not enforcing social distancing.

Even if you're vaccinated or asymptomatic, you can still be carrying the virus and spread it to others that might end up in critical condition if they are exposed. Please stay safe and be mindful of those you might be impacting by the choices you make.

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