Houston-area schools reporting thousands of active COVID-19 cases as school year begins

HOUSTON – Houston-area schools have reported more than 3,000 active COVID-19 cases in the first days of class. Most of the results were from two school districts.

Conroe ISD reported nearly 800 active cases between students and staff by Wednesday afternoon. While Fort Bend ISD reported 646.

Both caseloads are a tiny fraction of the student and staff population at both districts. The numbers are also growing fast.

“A variety of contingency plans have been discussed should a campus need to close due to staff abscesses,” Conroe ISD said in a statement. “We are working to avoid that scenario if at all possible.”

“Any potential closure will be communicated by the District directly to our families,” the statement continued.

The district has special cleaning protocols in place for all buildings and classrooms. Those who test positive must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset, or from their test date if asymptomatic.

KPRC 2 found active covid “dashboards” for many Houston area school districts, including HISD, Humble ISD, Spring ISD, Galena Park ISD, Sheldon ISD, Tomball ISD, Katy ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Pearland ISD, Alief ISD, Conroe ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Aldine ISD and Fort Bend ISD.

“When a situation warrants, the district would close all or part of a building for disinfection,” Fort Bend ISD said in a statement. “[The] threshold for closing a building or school is if absences by students and/or staff is affecting continuity of the school or workday.”

“72 hours are required to clean and disinfect a school campus,” the district added.

FBISD enforces “social distance at least 3 feet whenever possible,” cleans all buildings and buses regularly and conducts contract tracing.

“In case of closure, parents and students would be notified and provided with information related to contact, contact tracing, clear instructions on self-isolating/quarantining, and how to continue learning,” the district added. “Staff would also be provided with important details, information and instructions on how to proceed.”

The following school districts did not have active COVID dashboards as of Wednesday afternoon: Cy-Far ISD, Klein ISD, YES Prep, Pasadena ISD, Lamar CISD and KIPP TEXAS schools; Cy-Fair and Lamar said their dashboards would be up and running on the first day of school.