Central Texas school districts set protocols for potential COVID-19 cases

Education

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — While school districts decide how and when students will return to campus, they’re also creating plans for how they will handle positive COVID-19 cases. 

“When school ended in-person schooling last semester, he really struggled,” said Leander Independent School District parent Teresa Ford. “He has a tracking teacher, she helps him on all of his assignments and follows him.”

Teresa Ford has already decided to send her 16-year-old son back to school due to his learning habits. Other Leander parents say they have no other options.

“I’m a single parent — that pushes me towards in person. My two boys also need hands-on attention. The world can’t stop,” said Jennifer Nicholson.

Leander ISD says they want to have protocols in place for when a students or teacher tests positive.

“Anyone within 6-feet for 15 minutes without a mask would be qualified as contact tracing,” said Leander-area Superintendent Devin Padavil.

 Padavil says if that’s the case, then they’d get a personal phone call from the district. The goal isn’t to shut down an entire school — social distancing and limited movement on campuses should prevent that. The Georgetown Independent School District echoes that.

“If needed, we could close a classroom or a hallway possibly, without needing to close an entire school,” said Georgetown Superintendent Fred Brent.

Padavil says the Texas Education Agency has warned districts they could lose funding if they close.

“If a school district were to close a school for more five days to a county health order, then the agency would not provide funding,” said Padavil.

Despite those constraints, Leander ISD would shut down if necessary to ensure the safety of its students. Leander ISD outlined its contact tracing guidelines on its website under “Student Health Protocols” for tracking and tracing.

Leander ISD says they will be extending a lot of grace to families when it comes to potential absences. The district says it doesn’t want parents to hide symptoms their children are experiencing. It’s also waiting on parent survey results in order to determine classroom size. 

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