As students return to class not only online, but also in person, public schools across Texas must start reporting COVID-19 cases to the state.
The Texas Education Agency is helping the Texas Department of State Health Services conduct weekly data collection. They also want public schools to report enrollment numbers on campuses.
It's unclear if the information will be readily available to the public once it is gathered. A request to the TEA from ABC13 remains unanswered.
Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers and the Texas AFT, said the reporting will be prepared by the administration.
"We hope that it is both valid and reliable," said Capo. "The reason why I think this would be important for the state is because the state is in a position, in a macro-level position, to be able to look at this data, do some level of analysis and hopefully be able to pinpoint what practices that school districts are doing [that are working], and which ones may not be working."
Capo said the American Federation of Teachers plans to launch their own in-school COVID-19 tracker using crowd sourcing methods. They plan to vet the information before publishing.
The AFT wants to give teachers, parents, and the public unfettered access to the information.
"I'm going to say it's so much a lack of trust, but a difference in interpretation about what gets reported and why it gets reported," said Capo. "We certainly want to make sure there is an option for parents and teachers to report and share information so they can actually take some level of control for their own safety and security."
Meagan Clanahan, who runs the Houston Moms Blog, hears from parents all the time.
She's a mother to twins who attend a Katy ISD elementary school. Clanahan said parents want all the information possible to make the best decisions for their kids.
"We want the information. We want to know exactly what is happening in our schools," Clanahan said. "As it relates to school, information is important, and knowing that it is accurate information. That's the really hard part. We see so many numbers bouncing around so we really need accurate information."
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