Bellaire High School students have been ordered to stay away from campus Tuesday (Oct. 20) and attend classes virtually after someone at the school on Monday — the first day of face-to-face classes since March — tested positive for COVID-19.
Houston ISD officials said the district’s health department is investigating the case and contacting anyone having close contact with the individual while s/he was on campus. That unidentified person is reportedly self-quarantining at home for 14 days, and those having contact are being required to do the same.
The Bellaire campus will undergo a deep cleaning before it can reopen. HISD has created a 133-page Communicable Disease Plan outlining protocols for safety in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The case didn’t have the major effect it might have, with Bellaire having a relatively low rate of families choosing to return to school. Only about 17 percent — 531 of the school’s 3,200-plus students — had opted to come back on Monday, with the rest choosing to continue learning remotely.
Here is the text of the letter sent to families Monday:
This letter is to notify you that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 was present at Bellaire High School today. Due to privacy requirements, we will not release the name of the individual or any other identifying details. The affected individual is now self-isolating at home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet for more than 15 minutes. Houston ISD’s Health and Medical Services department has begun a case investigation. We have contacted all individuals determined to be in close contact with the person with COVID-19 while on campus. These individuals who were identified as close contacts will remain off campus until the end of their quarantine (14 days after their last exposure to the person with COVID-19) to ensure they do not have the virus. If you or your child have not received notice of close contact and the need to quarantine, then you or your child was not identified as a close contact.
Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and how long they last differ for each person. Some people can test positive for the virus without ever having any symptoms. If you or your child begin experiencing any of these symptoms in a way that is not normal, please contact your healthcare provider.
Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.00 F
- Loss of taste or smell
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Shaking or exaggerated shivering
- Significant muscle pain or ache
- Nausea or vomiting
Houston ISD’s Communicable Disease Plan (CDP) details numerous health and safety protocols that have been implemented, such as daily self- screening for symptoms, frequent hand sanitizing, wearing of face masks, social distancing where feasible, installation of desk/table shields, and enhanced cleaning and sanitization of buildings. In addition, when an individual tests positive for COVID-19, affected areas will be deep cleaned and decontaminated, and all individuals associated with the campus will be notified.
Houston ISD remains committed to a safe learning environment for all students and staff. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Health and Medical Services Department at 713.556.7280.