Seven of the city’s 16 school districts, including its three largest, have laid out the COVID-19 policies each has in effect as students, teachers, and staff who’d fallen ill prepare to return to campus.
Some follow CDC guidelines, others rely on the Texas Education Agency regarding how long the quarantine period should be.
EAST CENTRAL ISD
“We do not require a test to return. Individuals can test positive for up to a month or so after their initial diagnosis. The key is that they’re home during the period of being contagious. The current recommendation from the CDC is 5 days,” said Brandon Oliver, spokesman for the East Central Independent School District.
“In Edgewood ISD, we do not require proof of a negative Covid test to return to school for students/staff. EISD continues to offer weekly COVID tests to all students (with parent permission) and staff (voluntary). We are also actively working with our health care partners to offer future community vaccine clinics in our district. Lastly, EISD is still in a mask mandate, so all students, staff, and visitors are required to wear masks,” said Keyhla Calderon-Lugo, spokeswoman for the Edgewood Independent School District.
“We ask that our students stay home for 5 days after testing positive, as noted in our safety plan below,” said Mariana Veraza, spokeswoman for the Harlandale Independent School District.
She also said, “We actually offer PCR tests every Tuesday for ALL of our students and staff. We have had this partnership with Community labs all year.”
NORTH EAST ISD
“There is no requirement for a negative test in order to return if quarantine guidelines are followed. But, in order to return earlier, yes,” said Aubrey Chancellor, spokeswoman for the North East Independent School District. Chancellor provided the following information below.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, he/she will isolate at home for 5 days after the day symptoms began, or after the day their positive test was collected if they have not had symptoms. The student may discontinue home isolation after 5 days if they:
Are without symptoms or their symptoms are resolving, ANDHave been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours, ANDWill wear a face mask consistently and correctly when around others for an additional 5 days
If the student continues to have symptoms that are not resolving after 5 days, they will isolate at home until:
At least 24 hours fever free without the use of fever-reducing medication, ANDImprovement in symptomsStudents will isolate following a COVID-19 diagnosis without an attendance penalty.Students experiencing symptoms of a contagious illness may return to school when they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, other symptoms have improved, AND one of the following criteria have been met:5 days have passed since symptoms beganObtain a note from a medical professional clearing the student or employee to return based on an alternate diagnosisObtain a negative molecular (PCR) COVID-19 testObtain a negative antigen (rapid) COVID-19 test no sooner than Day 3 after symptoms began
Laura Short, spokeswoman for the San Antonio Independent School District, provided a letter sent to parents welcoming their students for the spring semester. It also details quarantine procedures based on the CDC and Metro Health.
Testing Following Isolation
Metro Health in accordance with the CDC guidance does not require a test at the end of isolation.Some people may remain positive by PCR test beyond the period of expected infectiousness.The importance of a positive antigen test late in the course of illness is unclear and does not necessarily mean a person can easily spread the virus.
“We are following TEA’s guidance which is 10 days for students,” said Randy Escamilla, spokesman for the Southside Independent School District.
If diagnosed/test confirmed COVID positive, students stay home for 10 days. We do not require a negative test to return to classes once symptoms are improving or resolved.If symptomatic and results are negative with a rapid test, we require students to stay home until a follow-up PCR test confirms test results. We will also accept a doctor’s note releasing a student to return back to class. We ask that doctors consider testing all symptomatic children no matter what their age.If the individual is suspected of having (not test confirmed to be positive) comes back with a negative test, the individual can return to school earlier than 10 days.
“We only require a negative PCR if they want to return before the 5-day quarantine is up,” said Jenny Collier, spokeswoman for the Southwest Independent School District, who also provided the following information.
“For students that have no symptoms but test positive, they are required to stay home until 5 days after their positive test. If students want to return prior to the 5-day isolation/quarantine that the CDC recommends they must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or they may return with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test provided they have a doctor’s note clearing them to return. Another option is to have clearance from a physician in lieu of a negative COVID PCR test or they stay home for 5 days and may return on Day 6 wearing a mask as long as they do not have fever and symptoms are improving,” Collier said.