Back-to-School Health FAQ 2021-22
DEER PARK ISD CORONAVIRUS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Deer Park ISD has received a number of questions from parents regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the 2021-22 school year. The following FAQ was created to address those concerns by providing information as it becomes available. Newest additions appear at the bottom. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the unpredictable nature of the situation, information contained in this document could change based on updates to federal or state guidelines.
Will students or employees be required to wear a face covering while on school property?
No, but masks are encouraged for unvaccinated individuals. In fact, guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend masks for all individuals. Based on an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott, wearing a mask is a personal choice, and schools cannot require individuals to wear a face covering.
I want my child to continue wearing a mask during the school day. Will the school allow that?
Yes, students have the option of wearing a face covering, but masks are not required. Because students are not required to wear a face covering, teachers and other District employees will not monitor students who choose to wear a mask. In other words, if a parent wants the child to wear a mask at school, it will be the student’s responsibility to wear the mask.
Will EMPLOYEES BE ALLOWED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING?
Yes, all District employees have the option of wearing a face covering, but masks are not required.
Will DPISD schools offer any measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- Face coverings are encouraged but are not required for all students, staff, and visitors on DPISD property;
- When possible, students and staff will maintain a social distance of 3 feet;
- We will continue mitigation strategies such as daily self-screening and hand hygiene;
- Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms must stay home.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and have been in a school will be reported to the county and state health departments as required by the Texas Education Agency (TEA);
- Individuals who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 should consider wearing a mask and monitor their health conditions for symptoms of COVID-19 and take appropriate steps (consult the advice of their physician) should symptoms arise;
- DPISD will continue to offer COVID-19 testing for students or employees who become symptomatic at school or during the work day.
How will schools respond if a child tests positive for COVID-19?
According to the Texas Administrative Code, any child who tests positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19 cannot attend school until the following readmission criteria are met:
- If symptomatic, the student or employee must remain home at least 10 days since symptoms began.
- The student/employee must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-suppressing medications. Fever is a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) or higher.
- The student’s/employee’s other symptoms must have shown improvement.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms must stay home until at least 10 days after the day they were tested.
How will schools respond if a student OR EMPLOYEE becomes ill during the school day?
Individuals showing symptoms will be sent to the clinic and isolated. In cases of student illness, the child’s parent/guardian will be contacted. We strongly recommend that any employee who has been exposed to any type of communicable virus seek medical attention, monitor symptoms, and wear a mask to prevent spreading illness.
How will the District respond if there is a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in our area?
Throughout the school year, the District will remain in close contact with state and county medical officials regarding the latest COVID-19 guidance.
Will the District host additional vaccine clinics for students, employees, and community members to get vaccinated?
The District has already hosted several clinics to provide students, employees, and others an opportunity to be vaccinated. We are planning additional vaccine clinics and will publicize them as they are scheduled.
Are employees required to be vaccinated?
No. The CDC strongly recommends vaccination for all individuals ages 12 and up, but we do not require vaccination for our employees at this time.
Will parents need to screen their children prior to sending them to school?
Yes. Parents and caregivers should monitor their children for signs of infectious illness each day. All students, employees, and other visitors entering a DPISD facility should complete a daily self-screen before leaving home. According to the TEA, consider the following question when evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19: Has the person recently begun experiencing any of the following symptoms in a way that is not normal for the person?
- Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
- Loss of taste or smell
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sore Throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Exaggerated shivering
- Significant muscle pain or ache
- Nausea or Vomiting
Will visitors be allowed in the school buildings?
Yes, but visitors must self-assess themselves before entering a District facility. Based on CDC guidance, face coverings are encouraged, but are not required, for visitors on DPISD property.
Will absences related to COVID-19 be excused?
Student absences due to COVID-19 will be treated like absences due to any other illness.
WILL THE DISTRICT CONTINUE UPDATING THE COVID DASHBOARD?
Yes, the COVID Dashboard will be updated weekly at www.dpisd.org/covid-19/.
Will DPISD offer remote instruction for the 2021-22 school year?
No, all DPISD schools are returning to a normal school program.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT COVID-19 AND HOW TO PREVENT IT?
For more information about COVID-19, go to:
Texas Department of State Health Services - https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
Harris County Public Health Department - http://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov/Resources/2019-Novel-Coronavirus
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
Deer Park ISD COVID Dashboard – www.dpisd.org/covid-19/
Office of Governor Greg Abbott - https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-executive-order-prohibiting-government-entities-from-mandating-masks
ARE ACADEMIC, SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL, AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS OR EMPLOYEES WHO TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 OR ARE EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WHO HAS TESTED POSITIVE?
Yes. Academic services such as tutoring are available to students by contacting the child’s teacher, who will put the parents in touch with available resources. For social, emotional, and mental health services, parents and students can contact the school counselor by submitting a “Request to Speak to a Counselor” form, which can be found on each campus website under the “Departments - Counselors” section.
All DPISD students are also enrolled into a See Saw (grades PK-2) or CANVAS (grades 3-12) course titled Counselor Connect, and the counselors will frequently share mental health information throughout the year, such as:
- Directions on submitting the Request to Speak with the Counselor;
- Directions on submitting an Anonymous Alert;
- SEL lessons and campus initiatives related to the Project Wisdom character Education program;
- Information regarding mental health wellness and coping strategies.
Employees with emotional or mental health needs can find information about resources at: https://www.dpisd.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1566595&type=d&pREC_ID=1695254.
All staff members and families have access to the District’s Community Resources and Assistance program in English and Spanish, which can be found at:
Staff members in buildings that do not have an assigned counselor can contact their supervisor for more information.
IS THE DISTRICT CONDUCTING CONTACT TRACING?
While school systems are not required to conduct COVID-19 case investigations, local public health entities have authority to investigate cases and are currently engaged in cooperative efforts on that front. Participation by individuals in these investigations remains voluntary.
HOW IS THE DISTRICT RESPONDING TO RECOMMENDATIONS FROM HEALTH OFFICIALS AND OTHERS, SUCH AS THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC)?
Deer Park ISD follows guidance from the CDC, state and county health officials, and the governor’s office. Specifically, the CDC has issued a number of recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Deer Park ISD is taking the following actions:
Get Vaccinated – DPISD has offered several vaccine clinics, most recently in August and September.
Wear a Mask – Face coverings are encouraged but are not required for all students, staff, and visitors on DPISD property.
Stay six feet away from others – In compliance with the CDC’s guidance for student physical distancing, when possible, students in classrooms will maintain a social distance of three feet. Employees will follow the same guidance when possible.
Wash your hands often – DPISD encourages handwashing and provides hand sanitizer for all classrooms.
Clean and disinfect – Frequently touched surfaces in DPISD buildings are regularly disinfected. Custodial schedules remain adjusted so that most custodians work while students are at school, providing continual cleaning during the school day.
Monitor your health daily – DPISD staff and students are expected to monitor themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms must stay home.
Isolation – DPISD follows the CDC guidelines for the isolation of staff and students who test positive for COVID-19.
Quarantine – DPISD follows Texas Education Agency guidance for staff who meet the close contact threshold with a COVID-19 positive individual.
WHAT IS THE DISTRICT DOING TO MAKE ITS FACILITIES VIRUS-FREE?
Deer Park ISD’s custodial team continues to clean high-traffic areas each day. Hand sanitizer is available throughout our buildings, and students have plenty of opportunities to wash their hands during the school day. Thanks to the District’s successful 2017 Bond Election, school air systems have been updated to improve indoor air quality. Air filters are replaced every 60 days. The District has also added more than 70 touchless water bottle filling stations in its schools.
HOW IS THE DISTRICT RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS DURING THE PANDEMIC?
Special Services program plans for the 2021-2022 are aligned with general education program plans. Face-to-face instruction and services will be provided to students enrolled in Deer Park ISD. Virtual Learning for students with special needs is not an option at this time. Face masks are optional for special education students, and we follow social distancing guidelines when possible. COVID-19 testing is available for students who become are symptomatic during the school day, and the District has provided vaccination opportunities for students ages 12 and up.