District launches COVID-19 tracker

Three Redhawk staff members test positive

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Photo by CDC from Pexels

Staying at home this much has helped lead this generation to learn more about ourselves, and our society as a whole. We were able to take this time and realize that what’s “normal” shouldn’t be normal.

Just days before face to face classes in Frisco ISD are scheduled to start on Thursday, the district launched a COVID-19 tracker that shows more than 40 lab-confirmed cases involving students and staff members, including three Redhawk staff members.

Frisco ISD is taking several steps, as outlined in our updated Disease Mitigation Guidelines, to reduce the incidents of COVID-19 on campus,” FISD spokeswoman Meghan Cone said via email. “This includes conducting a thorough Close Contact Review for each confirmed case of COVID-19 as well as for each individual displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19. This process includes determining which staff members and students came into close contact with the individual(s) and notifying them of their close contact with someone with a confirmed case.”

It should be noted that beyond an up to eight-week window at the start of the school year, the Texas Education Agency is requiring all school districts to provide on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year”

— FISD spokeswoman Meghan Cone

These cases will not affect the start of in-person learning on Thursday. 

“FISD intends to honor families’ choice for on-campus instruction,” Cone said. “Additionally, it should be noted that beyond an up to eight-week window at the start of the school year, the Texas Education Agency is requiring all school districts to provide on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year.”

The news of confirmed cases on campus has caused hesitation for junior Eden Brim who chose in-person learning.

“My parents decided that they wanted me to go in person because they thought it would be better to fix my sleep schedule and make me interact with others,” Brim said. “It makes me feel uncomfortable and definitely a little worried to know that some have already been infected.”

While Brim acknowledges the protocols FISD has created to help stop the spread of the disease in the district, she calls for more transparency.

“I believe that the district should be more open about the cases across campuses if anything,” Brim said. “Creating the database was a great step, but putting it on their website is going to make it harder for parents to check consistently, as compared to just opening up their email and checking. Although it could cause some people to panic, it should be somewhere more accessible.”

Junior Katie Stone shares some similar concerns, however, she believes that the benefits of in-person classes are worth it.

It makes me feel uncomfortable and definitely a little worried to know that some have already been infected”

— junior Eden Brim

“Honestly I am not too confident that I will be completely safe, however I am doing my best to adapt to this new reality,” Stone said. “For me, that means using the opportunity to start living the ‘new normal’ by going back to school. Also as someone who deals with anxiety, it has been very beneficial in the past years to have personal relationships with my teachers where I know I can always go to them for help with classwork when I am becoming overwhelmed.”

FISD protocol requires all faculty and staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before arriving on campus every day, however, disease mitigation policies may change throughout the year depending on new information. On Aug. 24, the school emailed a letter to students and parents notifying them of the first two positive cases. 

“[This incident] may prompt individual teachers and students to be more vigilant and attentive to the health and safety protocols outlined by the District, and perhaps more careful outside of the school setting as well,” Cone said. “The processes and procedures outlined by FISD are subject to change as needed as the school year progresses.”

These precautions comfort Redhawk parent Heidi Stone, who applauds FISD’s handling of the pandemic thus far. 

“I have been so pleased with the precautions FISD has taken to mitigate the spread of this very contagious virus,” she said. “Their option for online or F2F platforms for families in different situations is a gift.  A lot of districts are doing this across the country. I have no doubt that FISD’s execution of these options will make us proud to be here.”

Update: this story was updated on Sept. 1 to include details about a letter emailed to students and parents on Aug. 24