School districts outline plans for reporting COVID-19 cases

Posted at 9:56 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 22:57:27-04

As school districts across Central Texas start back up, new plans and procedures have been put into place to make sure that COVID-19 cases are accurately counted, tracked, and reported.

With guidance from the TEA, local school districts have been working over the summer to get everything ready for school to begin in the fall.

Part of the preparations include creating an extensive plan on the prevention, management, and communication of COVID-19 cases across school campuses.

“We also have to communicate the rights and responsibilities to students with COVID-19 and families. And then the next piece is that whenever students are back in school, whatever model that might look like. We are required to notify families anytime there is a positive COVID-19 case on the campus,” said Temple ISD Chief of Communications and Community Relations Christine Parks.

Districts have specific plans on how they are keeping families and staff members informed.

For Killeen ISD, a dashboard will launch before in-person classes resume on September 8 that will break down the number of cases by grade and campus.

“We will have a large COVID tracker button. We are looking at ways to put that on our homepage and that way parents can click that and it will open up a certain website and that’ll be that dashboard. The goal is to have it updated daily," said Killeen ISD Chief of Communications Taina Maya.

For Temple ISD, families will be notified through an electronic system through call, text, and email.

“All of our families will be notified at that campus if there was a positive case. Based on the findings of that case and what close contact may have occurred with that staff member or student or other staff members and students, there will be additional communication if additional measures need to be taken,” said Parks.

The state has not given a definite percentage for school districts to go by for a campus to declare an outbreak and temporarily close, but many districts, including Temple and Killeen ISD, are looking to the 2% rule unless notified otherwise by their counties health department.

Both Killeen and Temple ISD have additional resources on their websites that includes links to preventative measures and their districts protocol on how they will handle a positive COVID-19 case.