Is COVID-19 spreading in my local school? A look at student, staff health in the Amarillo area

Coronavirus

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – “There is no plan C.”

Amarillo Public Health Department Director Casie Stoughton gave such a warning during an early August conference on the state of the pandemic in the High Plains. The Alert Status Level for Amarillo has been settled at level ‘Red’ since Aug. 11, amid a steep rise in cases and hospitalizations due to the virus that has led to dangerous stress on the healthcare system.

The City of Amarillo has continued to release daily reports of new cases of COVID-19, new recovery counts, and an updated death toll made from reports through Potter and Randall Counties. Recently, the city also began a weekly report to clarify hospitalizations and vaccination rates of the critically ill.

However, with the school year underway on the High Plains, how are case numbers related to local schools being tracked?

In September 2020, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) announced they were putting together a COVID-19 School Dashboard. While school districts may not publish their individual numbers on the district website, case information from public schools are required to be reported to the relevant state departments. These numbers are then added to the statewide dashboard.

The latest update to the dashboard on the DSHS website was noted as Aug. 13, with updates expected on Fridays “with data for the previous Monday through Sunday.” On Aug. 13 the data was reset for the 2021-2022 school year.

via the Texas Department of State Health Services

Across the state of Texas as of Aug. 13, 4,729 students have tested positive for COVID-19. Also as of that date, 3,373 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Data from Amarillo area school districts, as of Aug. 15:

School DistrictTotal EnrollmentTotal Student CasesTotal Staff CasesOn CampusOff CampusUnknown
Amarillo ISD30,851133301036
Canyon ISD10,11205032
Bushland ISD1,449N/AN/A/N/AN/AN/A
Highland Park ISD868N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
River Road ISD1,296N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

The TEA has updated its guidance on COVID-19 for Texas school districts regarding school activities, contact tracing, and other protocols.

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