Texas public schools are under no obligation to conduct contact tracing when students test positive for Covid-19, state education officials said this week as the state struggles to control new outbreaks.
The Texas Education Agency said data from 2020-21 shows "very low" Covid-19 transmission rates in classrooms and lower transmission rates among children than adults.
"School systems are not required to conduct Covid-19 contact tracing," the agency said in announcing the guidelines Thursday.
The decision was criticized by the Texas State Teachers Association, which accused officials of ignoring how fast the virus' Delta variant can spread.
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"Even with the reporting requirements for positive Covid-19 cases, the new guidance comes up woefully short to help districts keep campuses, students and employees safe,” the union's president, Ovidia Molina, said in a statement.
At least one large school system, the Dallas Independent School District, said it will move forward with contract tracing in the event of positive cases.
"We still currently plan to share with impacted families and, as needed, a class or school, based on each case," spokeswoman Robyn Harris said in a statement Friday.
With about 145,000 students at 230 schools, the district is Texas' second-largest.
Texas has been a center of debate over mask-wearing and vaccine mandates as Republican Gov. Greg Abbott spars with Democratic lawmakers over "vaccine passports" and other restrictions related to Covid-19.