Staff, children test positive for COVID-19 at multiple Bexar County juvenile facilities

In-person visits by families, probation officers and service providers are no longer permitted

Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center (Google Maps)

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County spokesperson said Monday that staff and children have tested positive for COVID-19 at multiple juvenile county facilities.

The exact number of the affected population remains unclear because of privacy laws, but Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Lynne Wilkerson said the facilities are seeing spikes in cases of the virus.

“As in the community at large, we are seeing some staff and youth test positive in our facilities,” Wilkerson said in a statement to KSAT. “In consultation with medical professionals and in an abundance of caution, everyone who may have been in close contact with anyone testing positive has been notified. No other information on individual staff or youth will be released.”

Wilkerson said that all children are screened for health conditions upon admission to the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center and Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile Treatment Center, and 24-hour medical services are available at both facilities.

“Enhanced environmental cleaning processes have been put into place by the County and facility staff,” Wilkerson said in the statement. “All staff and youth are required to wear facial coverings. We continually monitor our children and staff carefully for any signs of illness. We temperature-check all staff and youth at least once daily, and any staff with symptoms are instructed not to report to work or are sent home.”

Wilkerson said county juvenile facilities are working with the University Health System to assess and manage any youth with symptoms, including immediate quarantine, medical isolation and treatment.

However, Wilkerson reported that in-person visits by families, probation officers and service providers are no longer permitted by the facility in an effort to limit staff and youth’s exposure to the virus.

“In an effort to support family connections while keeping all children and staff healthy, all family visits are currently being conducted by videoconference or extended phone calls only,” Wilkerson said in a statement to KSAT. “Probation officers and service providers also conduct visits by video. We are also fortunate to have mental health treatment providers on staff to support youth who are in our care during this difficult time.”

Wilkerson said that policies of the county facilities may change to better protect staff members and youth in the facilities.

“The safety of children and staff are our highest priority; therefore this policy may change if circumstance warrants a more restrictive approach,” Wilkerson said in a statement to KSAT. “We will continue to monitor the risks and make changes as necessary to protect children and our staff.”

About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.