CDC changes definition of close contact for COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance
on COVID-19 transmission Wednesday, redefining "close contact" as having been within 6 feet of someone infected with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes in a day. This includes multiple, brief encounters totaling 15 minutes rather than the previous definition, which only applied to those within 6 feet for 15 consecutive minutes. The CDC also continues to urge people to wear face masks and avoid large gatherings as COVID-19 cases climb in Texas and other states.
The new definition could have a big impact on schools as it expands the number of people who are at risk and need to quarantine. TEA is expected to update its guidance to reflect the CDC's new definition of close contact, but had not done so as of Thursday afternoon. This could mean more temporary school closures for disinfection and shifts to remote learning when a student or teacher tests positive. The state continues to update its COVID-19 dashboard for school districts
every Thursday, and said this week it will start to report campus data in the coming weeks in an attempt to make it more useful.
Funds available for special education students
Gov. Greg Abbott and TEA announced this week that $30 million in federal CARES Act funding would be available to families of some students with disabilities to use for supplemental services to offset pandemic-related learning disruptions. Up to $1,500 per student will be available to eligible families for payment to TEA-approved vendors for qualified services, including private tutoring, educational services and therapies from a licensed or accredited practitioner, instructional materials, and technology. Click here to read more.
Check out what's new in our COVID-19 FAQs
While this information is not legal advice, we hope it helps answer questions you may have about COVID-19's impact on schools. Members who have specific concerns or questions should call the Legal Department at 888-879-8282 to speak with a staff attorney.