Texas Education Agency: Parents Don't Need To Know If There's A COVID Case In Their Kid's School
The Texas Education Agency has issued guidelines for Texas schools that'll be opening soon during the latest upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the state. Under an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, schools won't be able to require that kids aged 12 and up be vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite the FDA's authorization of the vaccines for that age group. Schools (and all other governmental entities in Texas) are also forbidden from requiring masks, because freedom hooray.
But at least if a student, teacher, or staff member in your kid's school tests positive for the virus, you can rest easy, because the schools won't be telling parents about it. And not knowing truly is the best way to not worry, isn't it?
Dallas-Fort Worth TV station WFAA even tweeted out a helpful reminder of just what parents won't be told, and what schools won't be doing to collect information that might be used by public health authorities if they had it.
On Thursday, the Texas Education Agency released new guidance for schools on how to handle positive COVID-19 cases.… https://t.co/ysUW8fE9Oh— WFAA (@WFAA)1628204401.0
- Schools don't have to inform parents of a positive case.
- Schools don't have to conduct contact tracing.
- If a school does contact trace, parents can still choose to send a child to school if they are a close contact of an infected student.
Isn't that neat? Now parents can go back to school shopping for their kids' bullet-resistant Kevlar backpacks without any worries.
The two-page TEA guidance notes that if an individual who's tested positive does show up in a school, schools are required to notify the local health department, and to "submit a report to the Texas Department of State Health Services" as well.
Masks can't be required, because what is this, communist Russia under the Nazis? But the guidance does generously remind schools that "School systems must allow individuals to wear a mask if they choose to do so."
Further, the memo clarifies that students who are "actively sick with COVID-19 or who have received a positive test result for COVID-19" are not allowed to attend school, and that while the kid is out of school, the school system may provide online or other remote schooling, but it's not required.
Schools are also allowed, but not required, to test teachers and staff, and are even allowed to test students, as long as they have "prior written permission of parents."
And again, while contact tracing isn't required, if schools are made aware that a student is a close contact of someone who's infected, the "school system should notify the student's parents." Again, no need to notify anyone else, so that's good.
Beyond those very helpful guidelines, the WFAA story does at least note that K-12 kids do have to be vaccinated for the usual childhood illnesses like measles, polio, diptheria, and all that, which is probably useful information, although Texas does allow parents to apply for a "personal belief" exemption from vaccinations, too.
Also too, in response to WFAA's tweet about what schools won't be doing, one kind soul noted that while parents don't have to be informed of any positive COVID-19 tests at their kids' schools, Texas has, since 2017, required parental notification of classmates if a kid shows up to school with head lice.
Thank goodness Texas is protecting its schoolkids!
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