On Sept. 16, GISD launched a COVID-19 dashboard, which tracks student and staff cases by school over each week since August and is updated as new cases are reported, it said.
The number of reported cases remained minimal in GISD for much of the start of the school year; there was not much of a spike until the week of Nov. 9-15, with 25 confirmed cases among students and staff, data shows. At that point, it reported 105 total cases while adding five additional on Nov. 16, it said.
GISD Executive Director of Communications Melinda Brasher made clear that not every person who tested positive was on a campus or site when they were confirmed positive. In most cases, a person has been in contact with a positive person, stayed home, gotten tested and reported the case to us, she said in an email.
For each case identified, the district is also conducting contact tracing, Brasher said.
“It’s important to note, we are not seeing a rise in cases due to spread on campus,” she said.
Williamson County and the country as a whole has seen a recent rise in COVID-19 cases. On Nov. 11, Williamson County which had previously been at the low coronavirus spread level, jumped to a high spread risk level after two weeks.
“We are still following protocols outlined in our process maps for quarantine and cleaning,” Brasher said. “These combined efforts are helping us eliminate ‘spread’ in our facilities.”
GISD has also updated its process maps, which guide students and staff on how to report cases. Brasher said the maps have been effective at helping GISD keep COVID-19 out of schools.
“We continue to monitor the situation in our schools and the greater community and follow the guidance of local, state and national authorities,” Brasher said.
GISD postponed the start of in-person classes in July by three weeks. The first day of in-person class was Sept. 10. Currently, the district welcomes about 7,769 students, or 65.31%, to campus each day. GISD has a total student population of about 11,892.
On Oct. 19, the district decided to add five student holidays to its calendar to allow teachers more time to plan as they navigate in-person and online learning. The next student holiday is scheduled for Nov. 30 following the Thanksgiving holiday.