How COVID-19 cases on EPISD campuses are being reported

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It has now been about three weeks since some El Paso Independent School District Students returned to the classroom for in-person learning.

KTSM 9 News has received emails from people saying there is a positive COVID-19 case at Ross Middle School campus in East El Paso. Last week staff received a letter notifying them that a student had tested positive. However, on the EPISD COVID-19 dashboard, it shows that Ross Middle School has zero cases.

EPISD officials told KTSM 9 News that’s because the dashboard has to be updated and that takes time.

“They are reporting accurately however it might not be immediate it does get done by the end of the day but it might be in the evening and then that dashboard will refresh. So the dashboard does refresh continuously but it’s dependent on the data given, so the most important notification is that letter,” said Mellissa Martinez.

El Pasoan Marielena Valtierra tells KTSM 9 News her brother goes to Ross Middle School and she picks him up every day. Saying her brother had the letter with him last week about the student who tested positive. However, Valtierra feels it’s important that the information is updated everywhere for parents to see.

“Because if my little brother gets infected he takes it to my house, and then I take it to work then my mom takes it to her work,” said Valtierra.

EPISD confirming that Ross Middle School had a case a week back, but not this week. Explaining that some may be getting confused between positive cases and exposures.

“We do not report on exposures, so that’s different from a positive case, somebody might be quarantining due to exposure but they themselves are not positive,” said Martinez.

EPISD has been tracking COVID-19 cases on all campuses and according to the dashboard, as of Wednesday afternoon, there are 112 active COVID-19 cases, 38 of those being staff members and 74 students. On the dashboard, the number of positive cases is broken down by campus. While the dashboard shows how many cases each campus has, it does not say the grades.

“That’s a privacy issue and by law we cannot disclose that information and will not, that’s why it’s very generic on the letter,” said Melissa Martinez a spokesperson for EPISD.

Norma De La Rosa the President of the El Paso Teachers Association explains that teachers have expressed concern about how students especially those in middle and high school gather between classes.

“I would not be blowing anything out of the water if I was to say that you can’t tell me that there is not at least one case on every single campus in this district if not more,” said De La Rosa.

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