By Erin Jones

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than 100 children are hospitalized with COVID-19 in DFW’s trauma service area.

This comes as some of North Texas’ largest school districts return to the classroom Wednesday, Jan 5.

Fort Worth ISD is using hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize all high touch and high traffic areas before classes resume for its 76,000 students.

“We’ve made sure that everybody understands that anything else has to be put to the to the back burner,” Fort Worth ISD Chief of Operations Joseph Coburn said.

Masks will still be optional — but still strongly encouraged.

Dallas ISD students are also returning to the classroom.

The district is keeping its current mask requirement in place through at least Spring Break.

“We really are trying to do as much to keep our kids in school in person,” Jennifer Finley said. “That’s where they learn best.”

Lancaster ISD has decided to start its first week online. It’s using that time to offer free COVID=19 testing to staff and students.

“What we saw during the holiday break was that individuals were simply unable to get a test for COVID-19,” spokesperson Kimberly Simpson said. “We’re utilizing this week to be able to provide that service.”

Testing on site is something KIPP Texas is also offering.

All of their charter schools delaying their return by one day in order for staff and students to do so.

“Kids can and do get sick and because of how highly transmissible this virus is,” KIPP Texas Managing Director of Student Wellness Dr. Maria Rivera said. “The number of kids that are going to be infected is much greater at this point than any other surge.”

Erin Jones