TEA makes changes to COVID-19 guidelines, local districts continue with plans in place

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan and College Station ISD continue to be transparent with parents by sharing positive cases through the district daily on its websites.

As of Friday, Bryan ISD has reported 34 active cases: 20 of those being staff and 14 being students.

College Station ISD has reported 33 positive cases, 21 being students and 12 being staff.

“We started that last year by emailing every parent every time there was a confirmed COVID case on their campus and quite frankly, parents got really tired of getting emails,” said Chuck Glenewinkel, College Station ISD Director of Communications.

Earlier this month the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released 2021-2022 guidelines regarding contact tracing within the districts. The original guidelines did not require districts to contact parents if a student came in close contact with a positive case.

“It was more general in nature that if there was a positive case in the building,” said Barbara Ybarra, Bryan ISD Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. “We didn’t feel that was sufficient and we wanted to make sure our families knew if there was a positive case in the classroom.”

Those guidelines did however require districts to report positive cases to local health departments and the state.

Thursday TEA released updated guidelines that will require districts to notify families of positive COVID-19 cases in the classroom and after-school programs.

Both districts say this doesn’t change the protocols that are put in place that already match the new set of guidelines.

“Our children are in these buildings. What would we want to know as parents and how do we make sure we’re being transparent as we possibly can while still honoring and protecting the privacy of individuals,” said Ybarra.

The guidance still allows online learning for students who are sick with COVID-19 or those who are quarantined due to exposure.

Glenewinkel says starting Monday the district is upgrading the data you’ll see on their websites.

“At the secondary level, beginning on Monday, we will have a campus dashboard that lists every teacher on the campus, every one of their class periods and if there’s a positive case in their class period, it will be marked on that spreadsheet,” said Glenewinkel.

If a student test positive in those grade levels parents can get online to see what periods and teacher that student has to see if their student’s schedule aligns.

Elementary school parents will continue getting emails when classrooms come in close contact with a case.

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