Boerne, Comal ISDs report COVID-19 cases on websites, other districts have yet to follow Metro Health directive

Metro Health requires districts to post cases on their websites, but many are not yet complying

Boerne ISD first day of school 2020. Courtesy: Boerne ISD
Boerne ISD first day of school 2020. Courtesy: Boerne ISD (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – While the major school districts in Bexar County have not come to a consensus on how positive COVID-19 cases will be reported on their websites, at least two area districts outside the county have been posting information on their websites.

Boerne and Comal ISDs are posting the number of positive cases and the number of people that have been exposed to a confirmed positive case.

Boerne ISD allowed students to attend in-class instruction on Aug. 12 and has since reported seven positive cases district-wide and 106 people that have been exposed.

The current positive cases at Boerne ISD are at Champion HS, Boerne HS, Kendall Elementary, Boerne Middle School South and Boerne Academy. The district is not releasing whether the positives are students or faculty.

Boerne ISD spokesperson Bryan Benway said the district’s safety and notification protocols have worked very well thus far and officials are confident those protocols have minimized exposure to the “greatest extent.”

“Each time our protocols have been utilized we have improved on the execution of them. We are focused on the safety of our students, parents, teachers, and staff, and are having a great first week and a half of school,” Benway said in a statement. “Between staff and students, we have nearly 11,000 people in our district, and ensuring the safety of every one of them is paramount. A huge credit goes to our students, parents, principals, teachers, and staff, for continuing to follow our safety protocols by wearing masks, social distancing, using hand sanitizer, washing their hands, and being extra careful inside our schools.”

Comal ISD starts school on Tuesday with both in-person and online learning, but has already reported four positive cases, eight current symptomatic cases and 25 current exposure to a positive case. These figures are district-wide.

The district has also listed links to individual campuses. All four current positive cases in the district are at Canyon High School.

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD has two schools in Bexar County. Spokesperson Ed Suarez said any positive cases at those campuses will be sent to San Antonio Metro Health.

Positive cases had not been posted on the district’s homepage as of Thursday afternoon. Suarez said SCUCISD started its school year entirely remote.

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North East ISD spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor told KSAT Wednesday the district was not planning to post information on positive cases on its website at this time despite a directive to do so from Metro Health.

The directive stated school districts are required to report to Metro Health weekly the number of COVID-19 positive students and teachers, the percentage of staff and students absent or sent home in the last 14 days due to COVID-like illness and the number of students with influenza-like illness.

The directive added that “district and private school administrative offices, including charter schools, shall post weekly on their websites.”

Chancellor said as of Wednesday, there were eight positive confirmed cases at NEISD buildings: Roan Forest Elementary (2), Longs Creek Elementary, Harris Middle School, Wood Middle School, Churchill High School, LEE High School, Central Office.

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Northside and San Antonio ISDs told KSAT they were still seeking guidance from Metro Health on the topic.

“I’m certain that the issue of reporting will be coming up in the next coalition meeting and I know that they want guidance from us and we want to make sure that they were meeting a proper standard, so we will be discussing that,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at Wednesday evening’s COVID-19 briefing.

KSAT reached out to other Bexar County school districts for their plans to post positive cases on their websites.

East Central is posting positive cases online and Southside has said it will as well. We will update what districts plan to do when more information becomes available.

Most Bexar County school districts have started virtual-only classes. They have been encouraged to follow the Metro Health directive to allow students back in-person, but the directive is not enforceable and state officials have said schools cannot be closed by local health authorities until an outbreak is discovered on campus.

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About the Author:

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.