TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Guidance from health officials in Tarrant County has moved back to virtual learning only for schools in the county as COVID-19 test positivity rate increases.
Last week, the county released a dashboard of COVID-19 data that helps schools, students and parents understand the metrics of the virus in their areas.
Areas are color-coded by what health officials are recommending for those schools: red = virtual learning only, yellow = hybrid learning (some in school buildings and some at home) and green = return to in-person learning.
When the dashboard was released, most of the county was in the yellow. Now most, if not all, of the county is in the red.
One of the benchmarks that can change the scenarios for schools is test positivity rate. According to health officials, that rate has increased within the last week, which has led to the change in recommendations.
Just one benchmark that doesn't hit the county health criteria for two weeks can change the scenario. In this case, it's test positivity rate which for a few days crept back up to 10-11% pic.twitter.com/JeZc3dHPeT
— Jason Allen (@CBS11JasonAllen) September 9, 2020
The rate has gone up to 10% to 11% but is currently at 9%. Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja has said schools should not immediately re-adjust their plans because of how the rates fluctuate.
Taneja has made it clear the dashboard is a recommendation and not an order.
“School boards have the ultimate authority on that decision making. When are they going to open? What style of opening are they going to do?” Taneja told CBS 11 News last week.”… we are giving them advice. It’s their decision on if they want to follow it.”
There are currently 43,515 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tarrant County as of Wednesday, along with 587 deaths.