Editor’s note: This article was updated on August 5, 2020 to reflect TEA information on close contact and the list of COVID-19 symptoms which were posted on August 4, 2020.
In response to the public health situation, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) continues to update the Public Health Planning Guidance.
Changes to the return to work criteria, COVID-19 symptoms, and definition of close contact are worth noting and are explained below.
Return to work criteria:
- Fever free without medication for at least 24 hours (changed from three days);
- Improvement in respiratory symptoms (changed from set number of days); and
- At least 10 days since symptom onset (no change)
To return to work sooner than noted above, the individual must:
- Provide a medical note for return based on an alternative diagnosis; or
- Obtain a negative acute infection test at an approved location (changed from two negative tests in 24 hours).
List of symptoms:
On August 4, 2020 TEA updated the list of COVID-19 symptoms to the following:
- Temperature of 100.0°F or higher when taken by mouth (changed from 100.4°F)
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Shaking or exaggerated shivering
- Significant muscle pain or ache
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
HR Services material includes the full list of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) symptoms with a notation identifying the TEA symptoms.
Definition of close contact:
The definition of close contact has been updated twice. The current definition is:
- Being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or
- Being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination.
Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.
TEA initially removed whether an individual is wearing a face mask or not as a consideration, but added the additional considerations on August 4.
HR Library updates
HR Services continues to update HR Library resources to reflect the TEA guidance changes. Members are advised to access documents electronically instead of relying on previously printed copies to ensure you are working with the most updated Information. Below is a list of documents recently updated:
The TEA notification letter for campus exposure was removed from the HR Library because a version is now provided on the TEA website.
Karen Dooley is a senior HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Karen an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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