KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 3, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Today, Katy ISD launched a COVID-19 Case Dashboard which will document the number of self-reported positive COVID-19 cases. The District has also opened a free onsite testing facility for district employees.
In-Person Learning Starts Next Week
Katy ISD continues to communicate and provide crucial information to District families to help parents make the best decisions for their families, and to stay safe as the District moves to resuming in-person instruction next week.
“We want our parents to be in a position to make timely and informed decisions about their child’s schooling, health and well-being as we continue to navigate through this pandemic,” said Jamey Hynds, Katy ISD’s Technology Director of Business Intelligence.
COVID-19 Case Dashboard on District Homepage
The Dashboard is available on the Katy ISD website homepage and will provide the number of self-reported positive COVID-19 cases. It is part of a three-part District COVID mitigation system that includes the Self-Reporting App and the onsite testing facility for district employees.
“The COVID-19 Case Dashboard is easy to navigate and is updated every night to provide parents the most up to date information,” added Hynds.
The Database will also allow visitors to view cases by locations - by school – to see where potential outbreaks exist.
Parents Share Concerns
Even with this information, many Katy parents are still concerned. Jennifer Pelzer has children in Katy ISD, including one with severe health concerns. She also has the added knowledge and experience from being a teacher.
“While the Katy Covid-19 Dashboard is a great idea, there’s one huge problem,” says Jennifer Pelzer, a teacher in Alief ISD. “As a teacher with 25 years experience, I can tell you teachers will report. Parents will not. They don’t want to keep their kids home 24 hours after a fever. They surely don’t want to keep them home 2 weeks after a positive test.”
Katy ISD Goes Beyond TEA Requirements
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently directed school districts to submit, to the agency, weekly reports on positive COVID-19 cases. Katy ISD says they have exceeded these expectations by building their own in-house and interactive Case Dashboard based on geographic mapping software, designed to keep parents and staff informed of daily updates concerning COVID cases throughout the District.
Pelzer still has doubts and adds, “The entire board will be inaccurate and many at risk will be exposed. That’s the biggest concern.”
Teachers, Staff Offered Free and Quick Testing
All Katy ISD teachers and staff will have access to free COVID-19 testing, with results processed within 48 hours. The testing initiative was developed in conjunction with RediMD and UTMB-Galveston.
“We want our Katy ISD employees to have a quick and convenient location where they can get tested, whether they have been exposed to a positive case or believe to have had close contact with someone experiencing symptoms,” said Lance Nauman, Director of Katy ISD’s Risk Management Department.
The rapid testing site is located at the Agriculture Sciences Center off Katy-Hockley Cut-Off Road and will be testing Katy ISD staff only from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
No appointment is necessary, and testing takes place on a first come first serve basis.
Individuals who can be tested include:
Katy ISD employees potentially exposed to a positive case at work, or outside of work
Katy ISD employees’ qualifying dependents under the Katy ISD Health Plan
Katy ISD employees who are uninsured with Katy ISD (no family or spouses).
For more information on Katy ISD Staff Resources, visit the Smart Restart Return to Work: Staff webpage.
Parents Still Choose How Their Students Learn This Year
While in-person learning will resume Tuesday, September 8, parents still have the choice on how their student learns this year. Katy Virtual Academy (KVA) will operate all year. Parents can make changes to their student’s educational plan at the change of each grading period.
Learn more at the District’s Smart Restart webpage.