PISD announced Dec. 14 that it would revise the definition of a "close contact" and change the district’s quarantine policy effective Jan. 1. The updates are being made in collaboration with the Collin County Health Services Department and the district’s public health authority Dr. Mark Gamber. This move aligns district policy with recent updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Texas Education Agency, according to the district.
When the new semester begins Jan. 4, close contact will be defined as “being within 6-feet of an infectious person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period,” though factors such as consistent and proper masking could affect that determination. Proper masking is defined as when “both the infectious individual and potential close contact are wearing a multi-layer face mask that covers the nose and mouth and fits around the nose and chin.”
The revised quarantine period for those considered to have been in close contact with an infectious person will be 10 days. The current policy calls for a 14-day quarantine and requires the student or faculty member to complete the COVID-19 Student Reporting Form.
PISD’s most severe mitigation effort so far this school year came with the weeklong closure of Jackson Elementary School. Six unrelated cases on campus had affected enough teachers and classes that 25% of the campus was quarantined. Without enough bilingual substitutes available, the district decided to halt in-person learning, Superintendent Sara Bonser said during a recent Chamber of Commerce event.
As of Dec. 17, there were 162 students and 53 staffers in the district with active cases, according to the district's COVID-19 dashboard. Those totals account for 0.32% of PISD’s students and 0.75% of staff.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the number of students and staffers with active cases in the district.