The district's Pandemic Response Committee (PRC) met the first week in Sept. to review the current number of positive COVID-19 cases and to discuss the possibility of modifying various protocols outlined in the Highland Park ISD’s Back to School Plan regarding COVID procedures, which has been updated to include recommendations made by the PRC during that meeting.
Attending the PRC meeting were two new representatives from the medical profession that have been added to the committee: Dr. Julie Trivedi, Medical Director of Infectious Prevention at UT-Southwestern and Dr. Tana Roberts, a board-certified pediatrician.
Pandemic Response Committee Update
Below is a list of changes that will be made to the Back to School Plan, as well as reminders to parents:
- If your child is not feeling well, please do not send him or her to school. Some of the most common COVID symptoms include having a runny nose, congestion or a sore throat, so please keep your child home if they are experiencing any of these.
- Updated TEA guidance has authorized districts to require siblings of any student or family member living in the same household who tests positive for the virus to remain home during the incubation period after exposure. Students may return to campus under two conditions: 1) it has been 10 days since the date of exposure, or 2) the student has obtained a negative PCR test on or after the seventh day of exposure. There is one possible exception: if a verified vaccinated child aged 12 or older has been exposed to the virus in a household and is not showing any symptoms, he or she may still attend school only after being cleared by the school nurse. Absences will be excused and homework will be provided for students.
- Volunteers with a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 are prohibited from volunteering on campus through the incubation period. Vaccination status does not exempt a volunteer if someone in their household is positive.
- Decisions on when to conduct classes remotely will be made on a case-by-case basis depending on various factors and in consultation with the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department.
- Please encourage your children to wash their hands well during the school day and have them wash their hands once they return home from school.
- Masks are strongly recommended for indoor use at all HPISD schools. Masks are available at all district campuses.
- Large indoor gatherings and events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine additional precautions, change in venue or approach, postponement or cancellation as deemed necessary.
- The district will continue to work to contact parents whose children may have been exposed to the virus in class or a school-related activity, and will continue to send emails to parents and staff members of any new cases on campus. Highland Park ISD has also created a public COVID-19 Cases webpage to provide staff and community members with timely and transparent information related to HPISD lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases. Numbers are also posted daily to the webpage when HPISD is notified of lab-confirmed cases.
Campus Curriculum Nights
In an effort to temporarily minimize the number of gatherings that could potentially enhance the spread of Covid-19, district campuses will conduct their remaining curriculum night events this fall remotely. This will give all parents the opportunity to meet their children’s teachers in a virtual setting.
The dates and times will vary with each campus, and additional details will be communicated from either your child’s teacher or school principal. Although the staff is disappointed to not have this opportunity to see parents in person, this venue will still connect staff and parents and provide important information from the comforts of home.
Back to School Plan overview
The plan is the result of weeks of deliberation leading up to the start of the 2021-22 school year by the district’s Pandemic Response Committee, which consists of campus and district administrators, HPISD’s lead school nurse as well as Trustees Tom Sharpe and Jae Ellis. Since June 2020, HPISD’s Board of Trustees has delegated to the committee the responsibility of providing recommendations regarding the district’s response to the pandemic.
We ask parents, staff and the community to help keep our schools safe as we seek to do our part. As more information becomes available, HPISD’s Pandemic Response Committee will continue to consult available guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), University Interscholastic League (UIL) and local, state and federal health authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Protocols and safety measures outlined in the plan are subject to change based on local, regional and state guidance. Page 12 of the plan provides a complete list of updates made since it was first published Aug. 12.