‘We need 100% compliance’: Leander ISD says families are not reliably completing daily self-assessments

Education

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Like many in Central Texas, the Leander Independent School District has confirmed a new case of COVID-19 at school.

Someone at Bagdad Elementary tested positive Thursday. That’s the second case so far for the district since in-person classes started.

The other case was on Friday at Akin Elementary. The district reports 17 people may have been exposed altogether.

Parents of students who came in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 at school will receive their own instructions from the district. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to provide a doctor’s release before returning to school, the district reports.

This ongoing threat is one reason why LISD officials are asking families to accurately and reliably fill out a daily self-assessment for their kids every morning before heading into school.

However, they are finding that very few are cooperating.

One teacher at an LISD elementary school said less than 20% of the student body completed its daily self-assessment for that day. Administrators are asking staff to be more diligent in ensuring the screenings are being completed.

“We need 100% compliance. We need all parents and families to say ‘my student is not symptomatic today that is coming in for in-person learning,'” district spokesperson Corey Ryan said.

Some parents KXAN spoke to admitted it felt like an unnecessary step and was often a daily annoyance in the hectic bustle of preparing for the morning.

“The health forms are really a pain. Just an extra thing to remember,” said Holly Mouton, a Leander mom of three. “You get in the car and you are on your way and you’re like, ‘oh, God! We gotta do the health form!'”

Mouton said, even still, she has been able to complete the form every day and will continue to do so if it means she gets to keep her kids in the classroom.

“We’ll do whatever they tell us we need to do to send them back because having them home was impossible,” Mouton said.

Other parents shared different reasons why their self-assessments weren’t being completed. One mom said the 30 minute time-limit requested from the district was too strict. A different parent said it was confusing and the instructions weren’t clear. Another parent said they didn’t even realize they had to fill out a form, altogether.

Ryan admits the Google Spreadsheet most schools are using for the self-assessment is not foolproof. There’s no way to guarantee an asymptomatic student won’t enter the building. But Ryan says it holds everyone accountable for the health of the student population.

“It minimizes the spread in our schools and allows us to stay open and stay doing what we do best,” Ryan said.

Ryan underlined the importance of ensuring your kids are symptom-free: If your kid feels sick and needs to come home from a Leander ISD school — for whatever reason, be it a stomach ache, allergies, etc. — they will not be allowed back in the building until they get a negative COVID-19 test.

Ryan said restriction may ease up as the school year progresses. But for now, the district doesn’t want to take any chances.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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