Reporting COVID-19 Cases in Schools
Cases should be reported to either of these:
- The 24/7 disease reporting line at 254-750-5411, choose OPTION 2; or
- Email Schoolreports@wacotx.gov.
Please refer to the ‘COVID-19 Reporting and Notification Steps for Schools’ for additional details (link coming soon).
It is recommended that each district and/or campus keep track of who is out with symptoms and/or for testing. However, this information is not required to be reported to the Health District.
COVID-19 is an immediately notifiable condition as defined by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Accordingly, COVID-19 cases should be reported to the Health District immediately.
Yes, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) states that schools must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school where a lab-confirmed case is identified among students, teachers, or staff participating in any on-campus activities. This requirement is consistent with school notification rules for
other communicable diseases and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements.
Case information should be reported in detail to the Health District but kept confidential from the public in order to protect patient privacy. When identifying close contacts of a case, be sure to maintain confidentiality by not releasing the name of the case the close contact was exposed to.
Schools are still required to report COVID-19 cases to the Health District immediately.
A close contact is defined as:
a.) being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or
b.) being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes*
*However, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination made by the Health District.
Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.
The Role of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District
Positive cases of COVID-19 in schools are investigated by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. A COVID-19 investigation will include basic demographic information, information regarding chronic
health conditions, questions about where the case went in their exposure period and infectious period, and similar questions that will help the Health District mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The investigation is part of the contact tracing process in which we identify direct contacts of the case during the infectious period so that they can be notified and quarantine appropriately.
The Health District will not be conducting daily monitoring for cases and their close contacts. The school district can choose to conduct monitoring on their own if they choose to do so. Daily monitoring is the
process of calling a positive case daily to monitor symptoms.
Decisions regarding school closures will be made in consultation with school administrators. School closures will be considered if multiple cases occur in multiple classrooms or cohorts of students/teachers/staff within a 14 day time period; consideration for closure will also take into consideration the size of the school, grade levels involved, and other factors.
Isolation and Quarantine
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is considered contagious until they meet the following criteria to discontinue isolation:
1. At least 10 days have passed since the first symptom appeared, or since the day of testing if they were asymptomatic
2. At least 24 hours has passed since resolution of fever without use of fever reducing medications.
3) The individual has improvement in symptoms
For additional details on isolation instructions, please refer to “Isolation Instructions for COVID-19 Positive Cases” (Link coming soon)
No, if they did not come in to contact with the COVID-19 case themselves, they are not considered at risk unless their child develops symptoms while on quarantine.
Household members of confirmed COVID-19 cases are instructed to stay home while their household member is sick PLUS an additional 14 days after the sick household member has recovered. Because the staff member or student could become sick any time during 14 days after their last contact with the sick household member, it is very important to allow for this quarantine time period to pass before allowing them back to school. This is how we stop the spread. (CDC Quarantine Instructions)
In this situation, you will wait on positive test results prior to sending any close contacts home for quarantine.
Yes, all close contacts must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether both parties were wearing a mask.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests the following products for disinfecting surfaces: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19