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Local school districts, parents react to new TEA Dashboard tracking COVID by school district

A new Dashboard of information went live Thursday afternoon.
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:54 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -Public school parents have a new tool for tracking COVID-19 in their child’s school district.

Thursday afternoon the Texas Education Agency expanded data they are sharing with a new dashboard that includes all public schools in Texas. Their new data showed Bryan ISD has had 18 student cases and 15 staff cases since school began and College Station ISD has had 19 student cases and 6 staff cases.

The school districts and parents said Thursday the new information is great for transparency.

Christoper Jackson is sending his fourth-grader back to school for in person learning.

“She’ll go back next week," said Jackson.

He thinks the new COVID-19 dashboard will help parents make better decisions.

“Transparency is pretty big so I think it’ll be pretty good since this can be broken down so that, you know, the parents can still be, you know, kept in the loop on how things are going per district," said Jackson.

“So I think you know it would actually be a good tool to use that way we know what to look for because I’m a firm believer that if we know if we use things kind of a history to it we can predict what’s going to happen there in the future," said Carl Perry, he has a daughter in Bryan ISD and three stepkids at IL Texas in College Station.

“If we have a firm number that tells us what’s happening here or what to expect that gives us a little better idea of how to plan,” said Perry.

The TEA said Thursday the data will be updated weekly and only includes people coming on campuses. Both Bryan and College Station ISD’s say it’s another great tool for parents.

“Understanding the number of cases in our schools is certainly one piece of information that parents may choose to use when they’re selecting virtual versus onsite instruction for their students. Now that we’ve got five weeks of on site instruction behind us I think it’s clear that our cases have been very manageable," said Molley Perry, College Station ISD Chief Administrative Officer.

“When we look at the number of students and staff in our building relative to the number of cases, things are trending in a very optimistic direction,” she added.

“You may see this number here or that number there but parents really need to rely on the information coming directly from their campus which is going to be accurate and very, very specific for them," said Matthew LeBlanc, Bryan ISD Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

“When you have nine to 10 cases a week that number is very, very, very low. But I think it’s more important for parents to keep in mind and really to reinforce that the work being done on campus is for prevention,” LeBlanc said.

For Jackson, he hopes his daughter has a good transition back to in-person learning. It’s something she and the family miss.

“You know it’ll be good to see how it goes... We just gotta keep doing what we have to and you know get through this," said Jackson.

The TEA says the data they have may vary from other sources due to different parameters of how COVID-19 is reported. Public charter schools are also listed in that info.

We have the link to the new dashboard here.

Our story on what the data shows for local school districts can be found here.

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