The Texas Education Agency will activate its new online reporting form Aug. 28, although districts will have a little over a week before their first reporting deadline on Sept. 8, according to new guidance from the state.
The form requires districts to disclose which campuses have been affected by a positive test, the number of new cases confirmed at that campus in the previous week, whether the case was contracted on campus, and whether school-specific contacts have been identified.
Schools will be responsible for filing reports each Monday with the Department of State Health Services.
The first reports will provide a window into the early school year at campuses that have already reopened for in-person instruction. By Sept. 8, schools will be required to report all positive tests dating back to the first day of the 2020-21 school year.
Districts will also provide TEA with the total number enrolled on campus during the first and fourth weeks of school to give some context to the positive case numbers being reported. The two sets of data "will allow TEA and DSHS to review statewide information on COVID-19 cases in schools to better inform public policy decisions."
Schools will still have to report positive cases to their local health authority for tracking and contact tracing, according to the TEA advisory for districts.
“Data on the number of cases in schools is of paramount interest to parents, students, teachers, staff, public health experts, policymakers and the larger community,” officials said when they announced the tracking program in an Aug. 20 news release. “This information will be submitted to DSHS any time there is a positive case in a campus community.”