AUSTIN, Texas - Eanes ISD is reporting a Westlake High School student is self-quarantined at home after being possibly exposed to the coronavirus while attending an out-of-state conference.
In a letter to parents, guardians, and staff, the district says the student recently attended a national conference out of state and returned to school for five days. The district says the student "evidently had contact with one or more individuals who, the student just learned, later exhibited flu-like symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus."
The student is not showing any signs of the virus, says Eanes ISD, but the family has chosen to self-quarantine them at home until school resumes on March 23 after spring break. The student's potential exposure has been reported to the Travis County Health Department, but it was determined the student does not qualify for further screening at this time.
Eanes ISD says the student does not have siblings at any other level in the district.
"We appreciate the family's regard for others in this situation; as a result, we do not believe there was or is an immediate concern for the wellbeing of our high school campus or community," says the district. "We acknowledge the student interacted with numerous friends and several faculty members while on campus last week; although, there is presently no indication of either individual symptoms or widespread illness."
Eanes ISD says there are currently no plans to close schools in response to this or cancel school-sponsored travel at this time.
READ THE FULL LETTER BELOW:
Dear Parents, Guardians & Staff,
Amid ongoing fears about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we understand our shared responsibility to be diligent in preventive measures as well as communication. Today, we learned a Westlake High School student recently attended a national conference out of state and then returned to Westlake HS for five days. During the event, the student evidently had contact with one or more individuals who, the student just learned, later exhibited flu-like symptoms consistent with the Coronavirus.
This is not a confirmed diagnosis. The Westlake student is currently healthy with no signs of the virus (asymptomatic). Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, the family has chosen to self-quarantine the student at home until after spring vacation when school resumes March 23. The student's potential exposure has been reported to the Travis County Health Department, which determined the student does not qualify for further screening at this time. The student does not have siblings at any other level in Eanes ISD.
We appreciate the family's regard for others in this situation; as a result, we do not believe there was or is an immediate concern for the wellbeing of our high school campus or community. We acknowledge the student interacted with numerous friends and several faculty members while on campus last week; although, there is presently no indication of either individual symptoms or widespread illness. At this time, we do not intend to close schools in response to this particular situation. We will continue to monitor all reports and we respect a parent's right to make individual attendance decisions.
Nonetheless, this incident provides an opportunity to remind students, parents and staff of various measures to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus. With the ever-evolving information and media attention about the Coronavirus, our community, understandably, has elevated concerns about how to prevent, prepare for and respond to the spread of the disease in our schools. As information directly related to our schools is updated, we will make sure to inform our community.
What we continue to do:
Our schools are cleaned and sanitized daily as part of our normal course of action during cold and flu season. Over the past few weeks, we have increased the frequency of cleanings throughout the day and have extended daily cleanings to our buses. The district has access to large-scale outside vendors who will deep-clean classrooms and schools, including those used by the above-referenced student.
We are adding hand sanitizer stations around campuses and have asked campuses to hang handwashing posters inside and near restrooms and common areas like cafeterias and gymnasiums.
As I said in my message last week, we are not cancelling school-sponsored travel at this time. There are, however, some student groups that have had their trips cancelled or postponed due to the hosting organization's decision. Understanding the unique nature of the current situation, we will honor parents' decisions about their child's participation in trips. Students will not be penalized for those decisions. We will continue to monitor information and make appropriate decisions on future school-sponsored trips.
If families are traveling to affected areas, particularly areas with a level 2 or 3 health advisory, we ask they follow guidance given by local, state and federal officials as to recommended precautions before returning to school. Families with concerns about travel plans over spring break should maintain communication with their school principal.
And let me be clear: we do not want your child to attend school if he/she is ill. While we are required by state law to send attendance letters if a child has three or more unexcused absences, we know staying home is the prudent approach to managing sickness; your child's health is a more important consideration and takes priority over school attendance.
Based on the guidance we have received from various health agencies, the Texas Education Agency and our own preparedness and preventative operations, we are confident our schools will continue operations as normal. We look to our community to share in the responsibility to keep our children and community healthy and we trust our families will stay in contact with us as situations evolve.
We have created a webpage with resources regarding the Coronavirus as well as an FAQ. Please continue to monitor this website, as we will make frequent updates: www.eanesisd.net/coronavirus.