COVID Guidelines for the Upcoming School Year; CISD will Not allow people with known positive COVID tests to come to school

By: Woodlands Online
| Published 07/28/2021


THE WOODLANDS, TX — “There were some headlines that said Conroe ISD will not force kids that have COVID to be out of school, [that was] somewhat misleading,” Said Dr. Curtis Null, Conroe ISD Superintendent, at the district’s YouTube live update, July 28.

He explained: “We were presenting this item to the board last week, and the question was asked, ‘Can you force students that have COVID to not attend school?’ And as of Tuesday of last week, the answer to that was no, we did not have the authority to force that. Now, we were confident that we would have that authority, we just needed the state to update their chart to include COVID for illnesses that we can exclude people from school for. We knew they were going to do that, but as of last Tuesday, they had not done it. And so the question was answered honestly, as of last Tuesday, No, we didn't have the authority to force it.”

CISD has now been given that authority by the state. “If you test positive for COVID, you will be isolated, which means you're not allowed to come to school,” Dr. Null said.

The first day of school is only two weeks away. Listed are the most current COVID guideline updates for the upcoming year:
- Mask use will be optional for students and staff.
- The COVID vaccine will not be mandated for students or employees.
- There will be no virtual school option, because it was not funded by the state.
- Schools can send students home if they have a fever, but not for other symptoms.
- At-will COVID testing will be available for both employees and students for free. The district currently has about 5,000 tests that will expire in October. “We’re unclear yet if the state’s going to send us more or not.”
- Common areas will be E-misted every day, but the classrooms will be on a rotational basis. Classrooms with known COVID cases will be E-misted right away.

What do these new guidelines mean?
- When a student is sick with COVID, it will be counted as an excused absence. They will have make up work that their teachers will likely send home, possibly electronically. The state policy remains in place; students must be in attendance for 90% of school days to receive credit. There is an appeal process if multiple illnesses occur.
- Restrictions will rely on individual campus data, meaning, it’s possible for one school to experience further restrictions if their COVID numbers increase, while other schools continue with the current guidelines in place. Restriction examples: Limiting large group gatherings for a time, and daily checkins at campus.
- Mask users and non-mask users will be together in the same classrooms. There will not be separate classes.
- Parents will continue to be notified when someone in their child’s class tests positive.
- CISD will not continue contact tracing; students and staff considered to have been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive, will not be asked to quarantine.
- Through a process the district calls, “cohorting,” the same classes will go to recess and lunch together. There will be no barriers in the lunchroom.
- Dr. Null said that they, “will try to have some social distancing available.”

Notable quotes by Dr. Null from July 28 Update:

“I understand the guidance is out there that it said everyone in the school should wear masks. That is not my decision. It is not the school district's decision. It's not the decision of our school board. That decision has been made by our governor, and it's not one that we have any ability to go overturn or go above.”

“There'll be no known COVID positive people walking around campus. That's a true statement. But we can't make the statement that there'll be no COVID positive people on campus, that would be a fallacy to say that because there are likely going to be people that are asymptomatic that will never go to get tested ... That can be a kid, it could be an adult, it could be any of those things. So that's a reality.”

“The whole goal is to get us back to normal, we want to be wide open ... At the same time, if we have to slow down a little bit, in a moment, we will, we'll be smart about it, we'll be sensible, and we'll push back to normal as quickly as we can. But in the end, we want you to be safe, we want your children safe, we want our employees safe.”

“If any information changes between now and the first day of school, we'll come back.”

- Watch the full video update here -

EDIT** CISD now offers a Limited Virtual Program for grades PreK-6. Registration closes 08/10/21. Learn more here.

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