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Anderson High offering drive-thru COVID testing after rise in exposures; some sports suspended 2 weeks

The district said it is offering testing as a proactive measure after additional cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the school.

AUSTIN, Texas — Anderson High School is offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Wednesday to students who have been on campus for STAAR testing or extracurricular activities recently after an apparent rise in positive cases at the school.

According to a letter sent out by school leaders on Tuesday, a total of seven additional cases were confirmed at the district. Via contact tracing, the letter states that they have notified individuals who may have been in close contact with these people so that they can quarantine.

According to Austin ISD's COVID-19 dashboard, there were three total cases and three total exposures at Anderson High School for the week of April 5. On Tuesday, April 13, however, the dashboard showed there were 94 new exposures.

The letter states that they will be launching the testing as a "proactive measure" from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

In a separate letter released Wednesday, the school announced that all junior varsity, freshman and off-season athletics activities will be suspended for two weeks. And, effective Wednesday, all in-season, varsity players will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test to participate in any athletics activities.

Tuesday's letter can be read here:

Dear Anderson High School Community,

We are writing to notify you that we have been notified of 7 additional confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at Anderson High. At this time, these cases are still isolated, and we are continuing to consult with Austin Public Health. Our number one priority is the health and well-being of our students, staff, partners, and families. After doing contact tracing, all individuals who may have been in direct contact were notified to quarantine, and the areas that the persons may have been in have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before use.

As a proactive measure, we will be offering drive-through COVID-19 testing tomorrow, April 14th, from 3:00pm-6:00pm. at Anderson High School. This testing event will be open only to students and staff at the Anderson High School Community, including remote learners that have been present on campus for extracurriculars and/or STAAR testing. Students that are under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by their parent/guardian or have a signed consent form from the parent/guardian. To make the process more efficient tomorrow, we are asking for individuals that are interested in testing to review the following COVID-19 testing paperwork and print, complete, and bring the consent form with them.

We are actively implementing and following all health measures, which include asking everyone to continue to do the following: stay home if you or someone in your household is sick, wear a face mask whenever you are around others that are not in your household/when accessing AISD grounds, wash/sanitize hands frequently, routinely disinfect commonly used areas/surfaces, and social distance when feasible.

Thank you for all your hard work to support the district during this time. Your dedication and service mean a lot to the students and families that we serve. We will continue to support you through this and keep you informed. If you have additional questions regarding this letter, please utilize our Let's Talk platform.

Respectfully,

Sammi Harrison, Principal
Alexandra Copeland, Director of Health Services
Matias Segura, Acting Chief Operations Officer

Wednesday's letter can be read here:

Dear Anderson High School Community, 

In response to the increased number of positive cases at Anderson High School, and after consultation with Austin Public Health and Dr. Mark Escott, effective Wednesday, April 14, all Junior Varsity (JV), freshman, and off-season athletic activities will be suspended at Anderson High School for two weeks. This includes all practice, play and games across JV, Freshman and off-season sports. These sports can resume practice and play beginning on Wednesday, April 28. 

Also effective Wednesday, April 14, all in-season, Varsity players at Anderson High School will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test (rapid or non-rapid, PCR) to participate in any athletic activities, including practice and play. Documentation needs to be provided to the head coach of each sport. 

We strongly encourage players to attend the Anderson-only, mass COVID-19 testing that is happening today, April 14, from 3-6 p.m. at Anderson High School. Players are not required to use the on-campus, rapid testing and have the option of getting tested with their primary care physician or a community organization. Players who are currently in quarantine or are isolating for symptoms or positive test results will need to complete their required quarantine or isolation period before they can participate. All athletic facilities at Anderson High School will be thoroughly disinfected and sanitized prior to use. 

The school environment continues to be one of the safest places for our children during this pandemic, and we will continue to be vigilant in implementing our health and safety protocols. We want to confirm that the recent outbreaks at Anderson High School are not due to individuals engaging in on-campus learning or STAAR testing. The recent positives have stemmed from off-campus gatherings that have occurred outside of school activities. All other school operations will continue as usual at this time. 

Our goals are to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, maintain the safest learning environment for all, and return back to normal activities as soon as possible. During this partial pause in athletics activities, we are asking individuals to do the following: 

  • Attend the Anderson-only, mass COVID-19 testing that is happening today, April 14, from 3-6 p.m. at Anderson High School. On-campus, COVID-19 rapid testing also remains available by appointment. Contact your health room staff for more information. 
  • Follow health and safety measures on and off school grounds. 
  • Report any positive results to campus administration immediately. 
  • If you are in quarantine, continue to remain isolated until the end of your quarantine and do not go around others. Austin Independent School District 4000 South Interstate 35 Frontage Road. | Austin, TX | 78704 austinisd.org | 512.414.1700 
  • Contact tracing works best with complete and thorough details. If you have any additional information about the recent positive cases, please help us by providing that information to Sammi Harrison (Principal- sammi.harrison@austinisd.org) or Melvin Bedford (Assistant Principal- melvin.bedford@austinisd.org). Information that is received will remain confidential. 

We are hopeful that these proactive measures will ensure our path to return back to all athletic activities at Anderson High School by April 28. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this time. Thank you. 

In health and safety, 

Alexandra Copeland, Director of Health Services
Sammi Harrison, Principal at Anderson High School

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