ODESSA, Texas — This school year, children coughing and teachers sneezing means a whole new ballgame.
ECISD leaders say they have reporting COVID-19 cases down to a science.
"If we see patterns and trends in the data, that let's us know that what we're doing maybe isn't working, so we tracked internally just to inform our decisions and make sure that we were doing everything possible to keep kids safe and staff as well," Alicia Syverson, ECISD assistant superintendent - student and school support said.
But like most things, it hasn't come easy. The district attributes their success to their phase-in process.
"The beauty of the phase in plan allowed us to pressure test the process with a smaller group of children and then make adjustments as needed before our phase 2 started," Syverson said.
So how exactly does this process work? Forms, forms and more forms.
Staff self-report using a form created by the district.
Students who are in school report any symptoms to their school nurse.
Students who are learning remotely can also have their parents contact their school nurse.
Once those forms are filled out, it all gets transferred into a spreadsheet.
Then those spreadsheets make their way to the health department, where they are accounted for in the total COVID numbers for the entire county.
It's a lot of numbers and paperwork to keep track of. That's why the district says it's all about dividing and conquering.
"Up to this point there are certain people designated for certain parts of the reporting process and it really has assisted all of us," Syverson said.
Through it all, Alicia said they want to keep one thing in perspective.
"Very few of our cases that have been reported are positives through exposure at school or work," Syverson said.
ECISD has been reporting COVID cases since August 5, 2020. The TEA requires school districts to send those findings to their local health department every day and the Texas Department of Health once a week.