Frisco ISD is updating the way it defines close contact with individuals who are positive for COVID-19.
The change will align FISD’s protocols with existing policies in several area districts, as well as the most recent guidance from the Texas Education Agency.
TEA allows districts to consider mitigating factors, such as the consistent and proper use of face coverings, to determine whether close contact has occurred and quarantine is needed. By adopting this definition of close contact, Frisco ISD will no longer require students and staff who were within six feet of a COVID-positive individual for 15 minutes or more to quarantine if face coverings were consistently worn by both people.
The change comes after continued conversations with health experts. The District has also closely followed COVID-19 data involving Frisco ISD students and staff members. Although it is not possible to say definitively where or from whom someone caught the virus, FISD is unaware of any cases of school-based transmission when face coverings have been worn.
Since July 20, FISD has quarantined 985 students and staff due to close contact on campus with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Of those 985 individuals, only nine with no known off-campus exposure later tested positive themselves. All nine were exposed in situations where face coverings were not required.
“So far our data has shown that the risk of transmission on campus is low when face coverings are worn,” said Daniel Stockton, executive director of government and legal affairs. “We will continue to monitor our data as we implement this change, and we are prepared to reverse course as necessary if we experience a significant increase in case numbers.”
The change does not impact the requirements for people displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or who have tested positive, to stay home from school and isolate from others. The District will also continue all of the other disease mitigation protocols that have been in place since the start of in-person instruction, such as increased cleaning and physical distancing where possible.
“This decision was not reached without significant consideration of both the possible health consequences and the impact on staff, students and their families when they are required to quarantine,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Waldrip. “As educators, we must consider the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of our students and do what we believe is best for the whole child and community.”