Updated with comment from Katy ISD

As kids throughout Texas have returned to school, Katy Independent School District is putting up barriers to students returning.

According to parents in the district, following some positive COVID-19 cases in a 3rd-grade homeroom, 8-year-olds at Stanley Elementary are being required to submit to COVID-19 testing or provide proof of vaccination to the school.   

For parents who choose not to test or vaccinate their children, Katy ISD is requiring a 10 day stay-at-home period for the child. This is despite the fact that the Center for Disease Control only recommends a five-day quarantine period for those who have been exposed and are not vaccinated.

Katy ISD spokesperson told Texas Scorecard that the 10 day stay-at-home period followed Texas Education Agency guidelines.

There is no longer any recommended quarantine period by the CDC for vaccinated individuals, unless they develop symptoms.

Katy ISD straddles three different counties—Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller—each with its own COVID-19 vaccination rates. According to the dashboard on the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website, Fort Bend County and Harris County both maintain a high percentage of fully vaccinated individuals. However, the more rural Waller County has a significantly lower vaccination rate.

Students in Katy ISD returned to school on January 4, under stage three of their Safe Return to School Plan entitled modified operations. Besides recommending masks, canceling large indoor group events, and disallowing lunch room visitors, students and staff are advised to self-screen for symptoms at home and virtual learning or “intermittent school to home academic support” is available for students if needed for a period of up to 20 days. 

According to the Katy ISD spokesperson, “three individuals test[ed] positive in the classroom and out of an abundance of caution a one-day mitigation was implemented to minimize the potential of spread. Asymptomatic students are already back in the classroom learning today.”

Houston-area news reported last week that Katy ISD had the largest number of staff COVID-19 cases in the Houston area. However, with nearly 89,000 students, the percentage of COVID-19 positive students has only hovered around 1 percent.