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'They're putting a Band-Aid over a wound that's hemorrhaging': Will temporary school closures be enough without longer-term changes to COVID protocol?

Mansfield ISD has closed all of its campuses through Tuesday. It's one of almost a dozen North Texas school districts to announce closures heading into the weekend

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — On Thursday, Yolanda Bledsoe's daughter was at home, instead of at school. 

She's in third grade at one of the six elementary schools that Mansfield ISD announced would temporarily close because of COVID-related "strains" within the Mansfield Independent School District. 

That announcement came on Wednesday, along with a plan for students to return to class next Tuesday after campuses were cleaned. 

Shortly after the announcement, Bledsoe took to Twitter to share her thoughts about how more districts in the district should close as case numbers rise across North Texas. 

She has two other children -- a middle school and high school student -- who also attend school in Mansfield ISD.

"There are a lot of teachers out, and there are a lot of kids out," Bledsoe said. 

On Thursday, her thoughts were confirmed. 

Mansfield ISD announced that all of its campuses will be closed through next Tuesday. The district reported 750 students and 195 staff members with confirmed cases of COVID, as well as large numbers of staff and students who were either absent while quarantining pending test results or for other illnesses.  

RELATED: Mansfield, Forney ISDs closing all schools due to rapid rise in COVID cases; Keller closes 2 schools

"It was a little predictable that we'd be in this situation," Bledsoe said. 

On Thursday, Northwest ISD also announced it would close all of its campuses through next Tuesday. 

RELATED: 'It's a battle I fight almost daily': Parents react to Northwest ISD's temporary, COVID-related school closures

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, meanwhile, announced that all elementary school students who are in classes with a positivity rate above 20 percent must quarantine through the end of next week. The district did not confirm how many students were impacted, but its public online dashboard shows 188 active student cases and 59 active staff cases across 11 elementary school campuses. 

This week, Cook Children's announced a record 69 children admitted to its hospital with COVID-19, and the system's epidemiologist predicts case numbers won't peak for another three to four weeks. 

Bledsoe said she and the parents she's spoken to worry that temporary closures without the implementation of any new protocols will result in more closures, as well as learning loss and more cases. 

"They're putting a Band-Aid over a wound that's hemorrhaging," Bledsoe said.

For Bledsoe, it's personal. She has a three year-old at home, who is too young to be vaccinated. 

"That’s the part that’s missing for a lot of people," Bledsoe said. "It’s not just you that you need to be worried about. It’s the other people who are in vulnerable positions."

Bledsoe said she would like to see a mask mandate and a sustainable plan for online learning. But Mansfield ISD will not require students to log on for online instruction, and Monday was already scheduled as a district holiday. 

Still, the district says the academic calendar may change if additional closure days are needed. 

For its part, Northwest ISD said it will update its COVID-19 protocols in time for next week's return to class -- even if state officials might prefer they not. 

Governor Greg Abbott is holding firm on his order banning districts from implementing mask mandates. But three North Texas districts implemented them anyway: Dallas ISD, Duncanville ISD and Richardson ISD. 

Bledsoe said she would like to see her district do the same. 

"[Dallas ISD superintendent]  Dr. Hinojosa's hands were tied too" she said. "He untied them."

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