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Bellaire High School, other HISD schools close campuses Tuesday after positive COVID-19 cases

HOUSTON – Bellaire High School closed its campus Tuesday following a positive COVID-19 case Monday, according to school officials.

The school has not identified the person who tested positive or any details but said they are self-isolating at home. All students will switch to virtual learning during Tuesday’s closure.

School officials said Houston Independent School District’s Health and Medical Services department has begun a case investigation. The school has contacted all individuals who were in close contact with the person with COVID-19 while on campus and has been asked to quarantine for 14 days, officials said.

As outlined in the HISD Communicable Disease Plan, the district says the campus will be deep cleaned and disinfected during the closure. Parents will be notified when the school has been cleared to reopen.

“We’ll go ahead and clean that campus and then that campus will reopen after it has been deep cleaned,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan.

Bellaire High School released the following letter to parents:

This letter is to notify you that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 was present at Bellaire High School today. Due to privacy requirements, we will not release the name of the individual or any other identifying details. The affected individual is now self-isolating at home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet for more than 15 minutes. Houston ISD’s Health and Medical Services department has begun a case investigation. We have contacted all individuals determined to be in close contact with the person with COVID-19 while on campus. These individuals who were identified as close contacts will remain off campus until the end of their quarantine (14 days after their last exposure to the person with COVID-19) to ensure they do not have the virus. If you or your child have not received notice of close contact and the need to quarantine, then you or your child was not identified as a close contact.

Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and how long they last differ for each person. Some people can test positive for the virus without ever having any symptoms. If you or your child begin experiencing any of these symptoms in a way that is not normal, please contact your healthcare provider.

COVID-19 symptoms:

Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.00 F

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering
  • Significant muscle pain or ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Houston ISD’s Communicable Disease Plan (CDP) details numerous health and safety protocols that have been implemented, such as daily self- screening for symptoms, frequent hand sanitizing, wearing of face masks, social distancing where feasible, installation of desk/table shields, and enhanced cleaning and sanitization of buildings. In addition, when an individual tests positive for COVID-19, affected areas will be deep cleaned and decontaminated, and all individuals associated with the campus will be notified.

Houston ISD remains committed to a safe learning environment for all students and staff. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Health and Medical Services Department at 713.556.7280.

Other closed HISD campuses

Other schools that have closed due to COVID-19 cases include Foerster Elementary School, Daily Elementary School and Lanier Middle School.

While Bellaire High School and Foerster Elementary School have reported positive cases, Daily Elementary School and Lanier Middle School have presumed positive cases.

Lathan said it’s important for schools to act quickly and have good communication with families.

“Those staff members or students that came in contact with someone that tested positive, will be asked to quarantine,” said Lathan.

Lathan wants the community to know the district is doing its best to prevent outbreaks and keep children safe.

“I’m very concerned that we are still almost eight months into this pandemic and I’m just looking for relief, but to ease parents' fears, as well, we’re doing all we can,” said Lathan. “Know that we’re in this together. Remember this is the year of flexibility.”

HISD released the following statement:

As of Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, the school campuses listed below have temporarily closed and transitioned to virtual learning as a precautionary measure due to presumed cases of COVID-19 on the campuses. As outlined in the HISD Communicable Disease Plan, the campuses will be deep cleaned and disinfected during the closure. Parents will be notified when the schools have been cleared to reopen. For more information about COVID cases in HISD, visit the COVID-19 Dashboard at HoustonISD.org/COVID19Dashboard.

Here is the full list of HISD campuses that are closed due to COVID:

  • Bellaire HS
  • Daily ES
  • Hines-Caldwell ES
  • Houston Academy for International Studies HS
  • Lanier MS
  • Lawson MS
  • Pershing MS
  • Pilgrim Academy
  • Piney Point ES
  • Valley West ES
  • Waltrip HS
  • Westbury HS
  • Whittier ES

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