The prevention strategies recommended by the CDC include:
Promoting vaccination [optional]: While Texas public schools cannot mandate that employees or eligible students obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, school leaders can implement CDC strategies to promote the vaccine, including providing information on vaccination locations, partnering with local health authorities to facilitate vaccination, and generally encouraging vaccination
Consistent and correct mask use [optional]: Texas public schools may not mandate face masks for employees, students, or visitors, but school leaders are free to promote and encourage voluntary masking, including leading by example by wearing a mask
Physical distancing: The CDC recommends schools maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms
Screening testing to promptly identify cases, clusters, and outbreaks: Screening testing identifies infected people, including those with or without symptoms (or before development of symptoms) who may be contagious, so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission
Ventilation: The CDC recommends strategies for bringing fresh air into indoor spaces to reduce virus particles in the air, including by opening multiple doors and windows, using child-safe fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows, and making changes to the HVAC or air filtration systems
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette: The CDC recommends teaching, monitoring, and reinforcing frequent handwashing with proper techniques (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds) and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes). Hand sanitizer should be used where handwashing is not possible
Staying home when sick and getting tested: Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care, regardless of vaccination status. Students must be excluded from school until they meet applicable conditions for re-entry
Contact tracing, in combination with isolation: The CDC recommends that schools continue to collaborate with state and local health departments, to the extent allowable by privacy laws and other applicable laws, to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19
Cleaning and disinfection: The CDC recommends cleaning once a day using disinfectants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency COVID-19 list.13
Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19
School systems must exclude students and staff from attending school in person who are actively sick with COVID-19 or who have received a positive test result for COVID-19.
If the student or staff is symptomatic, they must stay home until at least 5 days have passed since symptom onset, and must have an improvement of symptoms and be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication.
If the student or staff does not have any symptoms, but tests positive for COVID-19, they must stay home until at least 5 days have passed after the day they were tested
Monitor for any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
Loss of taste or smell
Nausea or vomiting
Schools are not required to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing, but if a school is made aware that a student is a close contact, the school system should notify the student’s parents. Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. In schools and ECE settings, which are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings, people who were exposed to COVID-19 should follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested.
To help mitigate the risk of asymptomatic individuals being on campuses, school systems may provide and/or conduct recurring COVID-19 testing using rapid tests provided by the state or other sources. Testing can be conducted with students with prior signed consent from parents. The consent form can be found here: COVID-19 Testing Parent Consent Form COVID-19 Testing Employee Consent Form
If an individual who has been in a school is test-confirmed to have COVID-19, the school must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).