AUSTIN, TX — State officials on Thursdy unveiled a website Thursday that shows the numbers of cases of the coronavirus reported at Texas public schools.
The initiative is a collaboration between the Texas Education AGency and Texas Department of State Health Services on the latter agency’s website. The reported count of on-campus student cases of COVID-19 in the state’s public schools is 2,344 out of an estimated 1.1 million students who have been on campus for instruction or activities since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, officials explained. The total count of on-campus staff cases during the same period is 2,175, officials added.
The number of student and staff COVID-19 cases in Texas public schools will be updated weekly. Starting next week, the site will include data by school district. The Texas Education Agency will link to the data from TEA’s COVID-19 website, officials said.
The education agency previously directed all school districts to submit information about COVID-19 cases going back to the start of the school year, officials explained. Information is submitted via an online form each Monday by those school systems that were notified in the previous week that a student, teacher, or staff member who participates in any on-campus activity has tested positive for a current COVID-19 infection, according to an advisory.
Officials noted that antibody tests, which indicate a previous infection, are not required to be reported.The data will provide an overview of the burden of disease in Texas schools over time and inform public policy decisions about COVID-19, according to officials.
“School districts and other local authorities will continue to be the best source of the most current and specific information about cases in their schools,” officials added. “Reporting this information to the state does not replace the legal requirement that schools notify public health officials in their area of all cases.”
Additionally, in adherence to Texas Education Agency guidance, schools will still be required to inform all parents, teachers, and campus staff of any positive cases tied to their on-campus instruction or activities.
This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch