11-year-old placed on ventilator with COVID as Texas mom blames in-person school

An 11-year-old girl is showing signs of improvement in her battle against COVID-19, which her mom says she likely caught at her Texas school.

“She’s a fighter,” Terri Gurganious said of her daughter, Brennah, who was placed on a ventilator last week at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Terri Gurganious believes Brennah likely caught the virus at Buna Junior High at the start of the school year, according to KBMT. Brennah participates in multiple teams and clubs at the school, the TV station reported.

There are 82 students and 14 staff members who currently have COVID in the three schools that make up the Buna Independent School District. The cases represent 5.4% of students and 4.9% of staff members.

So far this school year, which began Aug. 11, 125 students in the district have tested positive for the virus.

“I am so distraught over this,” Terri Gurganious wrote on Facebook, posting a picture of her daughter on the ventilator. “If we kept our kids home and not sending exposed kids or faculty to school this wouldn’t have happened.”

The mom hopes for school to shut down or for classes to be taught virtually. But the school district wrote in its 2021 Return to School Plan that it will not offer remote instruction this school year except to COVID-positive students.

The district could also go to virtual learning if “community transmission” of COVID-19 justifies it, but the plan doesn’t specify what rate of infection would trigger such a change.

Parents in the school district have the option of sending their children to school in masks. The district is also not requiring maskwearing for staff members.

Because of funding issues, “there’s no other option” but to continue in-school classes instead of doing virtual learning, Buna ISD superintendent Donny Lee told KBMT.

Brennah’s mom wrote Sunday that her condition had “improved dramatically.” But she may need to stay in the hospital for another month, according to KBMT.

“They are amazed at how well she has responded and how fast,” Terri Gurganious said on Facebook. “She’s a blessed and lucky girl. If I had waited another day or two, we probably wouldn’t (have) had this outcome.”

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