By Nicole Nielsen

RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) — COVID-19 cases are surging in schools across North Texas, forcing some districts to return their campuses to online learning.

Brentfield Elementary School in Richardson is among the latest. The district currently has a 6th grade student in the ICU with COVID-19.

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As of Sept. 1, almost a quarter of Brentfield students were absent from school.

Last year, Richardson ISD had 1,854 positive cases in total. In just the last 13 days, they’ve had 525.

Masks are required, but parents believe it’s hard to stop the spread with all students back in person this year and many removing their masks for large gatherings, like lunch.

“You just don’t have kids doing virtual this year, so there’s a lot more kids in these buildings,” said Michelle Meals, a Richardson ISD parent. “There’s a lot of apprehension this school year. It’s been a lot for parents.”

The Texas Education Agency is reporting 55 school districts in Texas had one or more of their schools close due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the year.

The districts are not required to tell TEA about closures, so the number is likely under-reported.

Meanwhile, parents in other districts around North Texas say they wish their kid’s schools would consider returning to virtual learning.

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“This year, living with Delta, we should be doing more. Delta is more contagious,” said Keller ISD parent Marti Shavor.

Keller ISD is not requiring masks.

“As a parent, having to send your kid every day and not knowing if they’re going to be safe, that’s horrible. You should not feel that way sending your kid to public school,” Shavor said.

The growing number of cases is a trend best seen through data from the state.

During the week of Aug. 8, 1,273 student cases were confirmed in Texas.

Over 5,000 were reported the next week, and another 18,000 the following week.

Fast forward to the week of Aug. 29 and data shows Texas had over 27,000 student cases of COVID-19.

It comes as local pediatric hospitals have been seeing a record numbers of patients.

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Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth reported as of Friday that they have 41 patients with COVID-19. This is the highest number they’ve had at any point the pandemic.

Nicole Nielsen