San Antonio’s school risk level goes up to ‘moderate’ as COVID-19 positivity rate increases

Metro Health had moved it to ‘low’ last week


SAN ANTONIO – Less than a week after the Metropolitan Health Department said the school risk level was “low,” officials decided to again tighten recommendations due to an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced during Monday’s daily briefing that the risk level is now at “moderate,” a yellow zone, as the COVID-19 positivity rate jumped up to 5.8%, up from 4.9% last week.

“This tells us that the virus is still active in our community and is transmitting person to person,” he said. “We’ve got to watch that very carefully.”

Under the “moderate” distinction, the directive recommends in-person learning should be prioritized for students with special needs or lack of internet access.

The school building and room capacity should not exceed 25%, the directive states, and cohorts of six or fewer students per classroom are recommended. The buildings should have adequate ventilation and allowance for social distancing.

Metro Health had moved the level to “low,” or green, on Oct. 6, when the positivity level dipped below 5%.

At any risk level, schools should use outdoor space as much as possible, provide fresh face masks daily, promote frequent cleaning and have proper ventilation, the directive states.

It’s a less strict approach than the “high” level that San Antonio was at in August, when in-person instruction was not recommended.

On Tuesday, Nirenberg reported 59,902 total cases and 1,207 total deaths in Bexar County. The seven-day moving average daily number of cases is 138.