Austin ISD begins screening students and staff for coronavirus


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Independent School District announced it has started screening students and staff for symptoms of the coronavirus, “out of an abundance of caution.”

Using a protocol developed by the Centers for Disease Control, school nurses are screening people who’ve traveled to China in the past 14 days, or who come to the health room with a fever.

Local pediatrician, Brian Temple, said he understands why these precautions are being taken by the district.

“It makes sense to screen people so they can understand the risk within their own employee population, within the student population,” Temple said.

The screening involves determining if the student or staff member has had any contact in the past 14 days with a person who may have coronavirus, or who has a confirmed case of the Novel Coronavirus.

Students and staff are told to stay home if they have a fever over 100.0 degrees, and are not allowed to return to campus until they’ve gone 24 hours without a fever.

While the district said they are using these screenings to eliminate any risk of coronavirus within the community. AISD parents, such as Claire Walpole, don’t completely agree with their reasoning.

” I think that it is overkill, and might cause more fear than it helps to reduce fear,” Walpole said.

Ascension Seton, which handles screenings on AISD campuses said on Monday:

“The health and safety of our AISD students, staff and the communities we are privileged to serve are our most important priorities. As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus situation, our Ascension Seton school nurses are trained to follow strict infection control precautions and protocols as defined by the CDC.”

Since these screenings began last week, some students say this new protocol makes them feel more at ease.

“I think it’s a good idea, I think we should all be safe and cautious,” AISD student Angel Rodriguez said.

To date, no one in Texas has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. However, there have been more than 400 deaths worldwide due to the disease.

For more information on how you can keep you and your family safe, please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus web page .

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