Information for Residents

Declarations and Orders
Find information about declarations and orders from the Mayor, County Judge, and Governor.
Open Texas
Find information about the Governor's executive order as well as checklists and guidance for both businesses and their customers.

Remote Learning for Schools

School Risk Level: Moderate

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School Risk Level Indicator

High: Red Zone

In-person instruction is not recommended during the red zone. Ancillary services that do not involve prolonged close contact (within 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more) should be provided one-on-one to special needs students, at-risk students and students who lack access to resources.

Moderate: Yellow Zone

In-person instruction, if offered, prioritizes special needs students, at-risk students and students who lack access to resources. Instruction should take place under guidance from the CDC for substantial, controlled community transmission. Fixed cohorts of 6 or fewer students per classroom are recommended in the Yellow zone. Building occupancy and room occupancy should be contingent on adequate ventilation and ability to create 6-foot distancing, and neither building nor room occupancy should exceed 25%. Reasonable accommodation must be made for qualified staff as required by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Low: Green Zone

In-person instruction should take place with CDC guidance for minimal to moderate community transmission. This should include physical distancing by older children and adults, frequent hand hygiene, and face coverings during high-contact activities. 

Health Directive for Local Schools

On August 7, 2020 San Antonio Metro Health’s Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo issued an amended health directive for the upcoming school year that provides guidance for phased restarting in-person instruction. The directive applies to all public and private schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12th.

Declarations & Orders: View the Health Directive and Guidance for Schools

Press Release

More information is available on the City of San Antonio website.

Virtual Town Hall and FAQ

View the City's virtual town hall that took place on Wednesday, August 5. The meeting discussed concerns and safety measures for the upcoming school year.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

COVID is primarily spread person to person. Everyday actions to prevent transmission include:

  • Maintaining a 6-foot distance from people outside your household.
  • Frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds.
  • Using a face covering that covers the mouth and nose.
  • Avoid sharing utensils, face coverings, musical instruments, drinks, or other high touch personal items.

COVID may be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes. Surfaces that people frequently touch such as doorknobs, faucets and handrails should be frequently cleaned.

A cloth face covering should have two or more layers. A face shield is not considered a face covering.

People exposed in an outdoor setting have less risk of acquiring COVID-19. Yelling, singing, and playing wind instruments can increase risk of spread.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Fever is defined as 100.4 or higher (a cutoff of 100.0 is recommended for screening at workplaces).

People with these symptoms should be excluded immediately from the school environment, evaluated by a medical professional and tested to rule out COVID. Find free testing sites here.

If no test is performed, then a symptomatic person should remain in isolation until at least 10 days after symptom onset, symptom improvement, and 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

Is it true that children are more contagious than adults?

Children can definitely get COVID-19, but we still do not know much about children and their contagiousness. We need more information about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it (SARS-CoV-2) to know how much children spread the virus. From some studies it appears that children, particularly children under 10, might be less contagious than adults.

How long does COVID-19 live on a surface?

The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, can survive for between hours to days on some surfaces. It survives longer on glass, wood, plastic and stainless steel (3-5 days) than on cardboard or fabric (less than a day). The amount of virus on a surface decreases over time, so risk of infection goes down. Risk of infection from touching a surface also decreases if that surface is in the sun. The virus is easily killed by commonly used disinfectants.

The CDC recommends cleaning (with soap and water) and disinfecting high touch surfaces regularly. This list of disinfectants that work to kill SARS-CoV-2 includes many standard household disinfectants (like bleach).

Should young kids be able to use the playground? I just think of how many kids are touching the equipment. Should we be worried about that?

All playground equipment should be cleaned regularly, according to school protocols. Children should try not to touch their eyes or mouth and wash their hands before and after playing, and hand hygiene should be used frequently. The CDC has guidance on the cleaning of outdoor spaces.

Should all students and staff be tested before returning to school?

The current guidelines do not recommend testing students and staff who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 before they return to school. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be isolated and tested immediately. Find information about symptoms and how to get tested.

How long can you test positive for COVID after an RT PCR positive with symptoms?

People who are sick with COVID-19, but not sick enough to be hospitalized, are infectious/contagious for 10 days after they start to feel ill (develop symptoms). If people are hospitalized, they are infectious/contagious for 20 days after they start to feel ill.

However, the COVID-19 test for active infection (the RT PCR, NAAT or antigen test, not the antibody test) can stay positive for longer than someone is infectious. In some cases for the RT PCR test, people have tested positive for 8 weeks after their symptoms are over and they are no longer infectious. This is why the CDC and we do not recommend re-testing to find out if someone is still infectious. The RT PCR test detects RNA fragments of the virus and not viable (living) virus.

What is the process if a student tested positive? What happens if a teacher gets COVID-19?

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) offers specific guidance for this in their guidebook and in their responses to various scenarios within schools.

An overview is that, if a teacher or student tests positive:

  • They should isolate themselves from others immediately and inform the school.
  • The school should notify the local health authority by calling 210.207.8876.
  • The school is required to notify student families, teachers, and staff in writing.
  • The school should follow appropriate cleaning protocols and collaborate with the local health authority for following up potential contacts of the person with COVID-19 (case investigation and contact tracing).

Much more detail and guidance on these individual steps is available from the TEA:

When can someone who had COVID-19 return to school?

People with COVID-19 can return to work or school after it has been 10 days since their symptoms started, symptoms are better, and they haven’t had a fever for 24 hours even without taking fever reducing medicines. A negative test should not be required.

Recovered persons should not be retested for COVID-19 for at least 3 months after their initial positive test, even if exposed to COVID-19 again during those 3 months.

How do I report a case to Metro Health?

Within 24 hours of notification of the positive result, report to Metro Health by calling 210.207.8876. You will be asked to provide:

  • Person’s Name
  • Person’s Date of Birth (DOB)
  • Person’s Address
  • Person’s/Guardian Contact Information
  • Testing Location
  • Symptom Onset Date (if known)
  • Grade or Job Position
  • Class Schedule/Teacher’s Name(s), if the case is a student
  • Last Date at School
  • Extracurricular Activities 

What are some considerations when contact tracing at a school?

Consider potential exposures from:

  • Transportation to/from school
  • Afterschool programs, extracurricular activities
  • Tutoring, specialized classes
  • Affiliations, close friendships, romantic relationships
  • Meal times and break times

People with underlying health conditions are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19. This includes:

  • older adults
  • people of any age with
    • obesity
    • type 2 diabetes
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • cancer
    • history of a solid organ transplant
    • serious heart conditions
    • sickle cell disease

Read more here.

What should be done after an exposure in a daycare, school, college or university?

Please see CDC guidance here. We anticipate further TEA recommendations shortly.

NOTE: Someone who was a close contact to a person with COVID-19 should quarantine/isolate for 14 days, even with a negative test. A negative test is just a snapshot from the date the test was performed, and the virus can incubate up to 14 days.

What kind of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) does a school nurse need?

Recommendations for school nurses caring for people with suspected COVID-19 include: a fresh, fit-tested N95 mask each day and eye protection (face shield or goggles). Fit testing is an OSHA requirement, and a user seal check should be performed each time a mask is used.

For hands-on care of a symptomatic person, gloves should be worn, and an impermeable gown if there is splash or spray risk.

Nurses should have thermometers, biohazard disposal, at least a 2-week supply of PPE and a handwashing station.

Please advise on the use of face shields vs face masks.

All children should be encouraged to use face masks while indoors, particularly when they are within 6 feet of others. Face shields add protection for the eyes and the rest of the face in addition to face masks. We do not know how much using a face shield without a face mask protects you.

If one of my children is told to stay home because they have been exposed to COVID19, do I keep my other school aged children home as well? What about the rest of my family? Should the exposed child quarantine or be isolated?

The child should be separated as much as possible from the rest of the family. The rest of the family does not need to quarantine unless the child develops symptoms. However, one adult may need to stay home to supervise the child.

What are requirements for a school isolation care room?

Each school should have one or more isolation care rooms, which is a designated place to safely evaluate and hold a person awaiting transportation. Students should be escorted to the isolation space. The area should be away from other students and staff, allow privacy of the evaluation, and have a clear sight line for a supervising adult. It is best for this space to include a cot that can be wiped down and cleaned easily, a dedicated bathroom, and exterior exits to prevent sick individuals from mixing with healthy staff and students. Ideally, isolation care areas are located on an exterior wall to maximize ventilation options. Anyone who enters a designated isolation care room must use appropriate PPE and should be logged to facilitate contact tracing.

Bear in mind that isolation is not a diagnosis; it is a recognition that someone is sick, and needs extra care. Take steps to reduce fear, anxiety, and stigma related to isolation.

After the individual leaves isolation care, the room must be closed and cleaned before it can be used again. The CDC recommends waiting 24 hours before cleaning; if that is not possible, then wait as long as feasible. The area where the individual was originally showing symptoms also must be cleaned and disinfected.

Preguntas de Salud Publica del Foro de Escuelas Virtual - español (Spanish)(PDF, 156KB)

Resources

Texas Education Agency (TEA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

San Antonio Metro Health

Guidance for Schools on Rapid Antigen Testing(PDF, 129KB)

Virtual Learning Spaces in the Community

Disclaimer: Provider details are subject to change. Please follow up directly with each agency for full details.

Below is a list of local organizations that currently offer safe spaces for virtual learning:

Boys & Girls Clubs

Available to students in 1st through 12th grade.

YMCA

Available to children between the ages 5 - 13 years old. The cost for Y members is $137 a week and $152 per week for community members. Financial assistance is available.

YWCA

Available for children grades K - 6. Sliding scale fees and scholarships are also available.

Contact

To reach an epidemiologist, email COVID19CongregateSettings@sanantonio.gov or call 210.207.8876.