This week the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) released on its website data collected in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on statewide COVID-19 cases among public school students and staff who have returned to campuses for in-person instruction. These numbers show that since the state began counting in August, 2,344 student cases and 2,175 staff cases have been reported.
While these numbers are concerning in and of themselves, it is more disturbing that this week’s data provides no indication of where those cases are located. The TEA has announced that next week’s data release will provide tallies of COVID-19 cases by district, but in large districts with many schools, even this data is not specific enough for teachers and parents to accurately understand their risk-level. While the TEA reports that the data collected will be used to make public health decisions, stakeholders in the public school system need this data in order to make personal health decisions.
Texas AFT’s recently released COVID-19 tracker seeks to make up for the imprecision of the TEA’s data. Our tracker will release data on case numbers at your specific school, which are reported anonymously and confirmed by Texas AFT. Visit StopTheSpreadTX.school to search for reports of COVID-19 cases on specific campuses and in other district facilities, and to anonymously report cases in your own school district.