Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021

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To learn more about Houston’s school testing plans, visit their websiteexternal icon.

Management structure for school screening

Houston Health Department (HHD) issued and received requests for proposals from testing vendors and selected one that can effectively meet the needs of Independent School Districts – providing specimen collection kits for onsite collection, testing and result sharing to all relevant stakeholders within 24 hours. The Department is also making funds available to the school districts to hire personnel needed to support the coordination of specimen collection and procure materials for the improvement of air flow quality within the schools. HHD is also investigating cases, outbreaks, and conducting contact tracing to prevent spread of the virus. The Department will be monitoring performance measures across the districts, reviewing variables under the risk categorization model, and instituting public health interventions as needed.

Support provided to school districts

With a diverse population and a high COVID-19 cumulative transmission rate within Houston, HHD developed a model to determine levels of transmission within existing zip codes in the city, using the cumulative positivity rate, zip code specific vaccination coverage, and COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI). CCVI is a measure of socioeconomic status (with over 15 variables) that helps determine populations with disproportionate burden of COVID-19. These findings were scored, and schools were classified as: High Risk, Moderate Risk and Low Risk Transmission. Screening testing will take place weekly in schools within high-risk zip codes, and once every two weeks within moderate risk schools.