TEA closely monitoring coronavirus; preparing by developing guidance for public school districts

Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 18:13:37-05

The Texas Education Agency says it is closely monitoring the spread of the novel coronavirus to prepare effective guidance for public school districts across Texas.

The TEA says they are working closely with other Texas state agencies.

Based on the most currently available information, health officials are recommending local communities and schools take the same necessary steps to protect against coronavirus that we take to prevent the spread of illnesses such as the flu.

All individuals are encouraged to:

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you’ve not already gotten one, a flu shot is encouraged.

TEA says they are in the process of developing guidance for districts in the unlikely event of an escalation of the virus.

The Agency is in regular contact with the state’s 20 regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) across Texas, multiple school districts, and the University Interscholastic League (UIL).

"It’s worth noting that in recent weeks, TEA has worked closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to monitor the number of flu cases in communities across the state. This effort will increase statewide awareness," the TEA said in a press release.

During this year’s flu season, upwards of 50 public schools in the state have temporarily closed due to high absenteeism among students and staff. These closures have also meant the cleaning and disinfecting of entire campuses to help prevent the ongoing spread of the flu.

While there are a small but increasing number of reported cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, to date, there are no confirmed cases that originated in Texas.