EVADALE, Texas — A pandemic, two shutdowns, and now the loss of a beloved teacher.
Evadale ISD has faced many challenges, but school district leaders said they are doing their best to keep everyone safe.
Evadale ISD returns to face-to-face classes Monday as students and faculty members are still coping with the sudden death of teacher Tia Coleman, who died of COVID-19 complications.
"It's not just one kid or one employee you are worried about. It's 500 hundred of them, so it's kind of tough," superintendent Gary Fairchild said. "Losing your employee is paramount. It's one of the saddest things."
Superintendent Fairchild said the school district hired an outside company in addition to their janitorial company to do a deep cleaning of all school buildings, an extra measure to ensure everyone's safety.
He said he does not think Coleman contracted the virus on campus.
"She hadn't been at school probably for at least three or four days," he said.
Fairchild said he does not see a need to change the current safety protocols in place.
As of right now, nine students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Jasper County as a whole has seen more positive cases this last week.
"As of this morning, we have 21 active cases reported by the health district," Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said.
The county is working on more contact tracing to try to suppress outbreaks in the area, Allen said, but everyone has to do their part.
"Everyone needs to be their brother's keeper," he said.
On Sunday, Evadale ISD announced that its homecoming activities are being moved to October 31 'to coincide with the homecoming parade' due to 'additional positive cases of COVID-19.
READ MORE | Tia Coleman's obituary
A funeral service will be held Saturday for Tia Coleman at Broussard's. The service is set to begin at 2 p.m.