In the document, the TEA said schools must notify their local health authority and the Texas Department of State Health services of test-confirmed cases of COVID-19, whether it be any teacher, staff member, student or visitor.
The guidance says that, in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order, schools cannot require students or staff to wear masks. Conversely, schools must allow individuals to wear a mask should they choose to do so.
Schools must exclude students from attending school in person who are actively sick with COVID-19 or who have received a positive test result for COVID-19, according to TEA's guidance. The TEA also said parents must ensure they do not send a child to school on campus if the child has COVID-19 symptoms or is test-confirmed with COVID-19, until the conditions for re-entry are met.
Regarding close contacts, the TEA guidance says "given the data from 2020-21 showing very low COVID-19 transmission rates in a classroom setting and data demonstrating lower transmission rates among children than adults, school systems are not required to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing."
Though schools are not required to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing, if officials are made aware of a close contact, they should notify the student's parents. From there, parents of students determined to be close contacts "may opt to keep their students at home during the recommended stay-at-home period." Previous CDC guidance suggested a 14-day stay-at-home period based on the incubation period of the virus. Updated CDC guidance states the stay-at-home period may end 10 days after the close contact exposure with no COVID-19 symptoms experienced, if no testing is performed, according to the TEA.
During the stay-at-home period, the school system may deliver remote instruction consistent with the practice of remote conferencing outlined in the proposed Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (SAAH) rules.
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