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TEA says there's no plan in place to track COVID-19 cases at Texas schools

The Texas Education Agency said there's no plan right now to track COVID-19 cases at schools in the state.

HOUSTON — This week, some students and teachers are returning to the classroom but the Texas Education Agency isn't currently collecting data on coronavirus cases in schools.

“I think everyone is just so stressed about what to do," said Meagan Clanahan, a mother of 10-year-old twins in Katy ISD.

Clanahan is also co-owner of Houston Moms Blog where she gets questions from parents about coronavirus and schools.

“Do we depend on the school district? Do we depend on the judge that’s in our county? Or are we depending on the TEA?" Clanahan said.

When KHOU 11 asked the TEA, it released a statement:

“The question of data collection is still under active deliberation by TEA, and we expect to have an update in the coming weeks on what, if any, data will be required and how it will be recorded.”

In the meantime, a teacher’s union in Houston said they aren’t waiting.

“If the state is not going to be doing what they should be doing to track these cases, then we are working on our own COVID tracking system," said Zeph Capo, President of the Houston American Federation of Teachers.

TEA guidelines say that schools must contact their local health department and families of all students in a school if there’s a confirmed case. Some districts like Edna ISD, are posting a case count online.

Clanahan said she’d like to see the TEA have the same transparency.

“I find it somewhat surprising that TEA can track STAAR scores and all of these things we do for school. It makes sense that they would be tracking COVID cases as well, I think that’s really important," she said.

Katy ISD released a statement to KHOU:

“We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of our students, staff and families, and have implemented enhanced safety protocols across all campuses and district buildings. These protocols include requirements for teachers and students to wear masks or face coverings, social distancing, frequent deep cleanings, a COVID-19 self-reporting app, a thorough and transparent contact tracing and notification procedure, as well as a testing site designated for District employees. Each of these measures is designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Fort Bend ISD said it’s looking at using a three-tier system as part of its pandemic management plan. The district is considering using color-coding such as green, yellow and red to help keep parents informed.

There's no uniform system across the state.

HISD issued this statement after this story aired:

"HISD is exploring the possibility of posting a COVID-19 case tracker on the district’s webpage, as recommended by the Harris County Public Health department’s roadmap to reopening schools."

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