Data on COVID-19 cases in Texas childcare centers released to the public

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FILE – In this Tuesday, July 14, 2020 file photo, Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, teachers check students before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two state agencies announced Thursday they will track COVID-19 cases in Texas’ childcare facilities and public schools and release that data to the public.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it will post data on COVID-19 cases in kids and employees at licensed childcare centers, school-age programs and before or after-school programs to its website starting Thursday.

This comes after child advocacy groups said the lack of information about COVID-19 in childcare centers was concerning. In mid July, KXAN reported state officials were tracking COVID-19 cases at childcare centers, but the data wasn’t publicly available yet.

Data will be released for regulated centers that provide care to seven or more kids ages 13 or younger, according to HHSC. For school-age programs and before or after-school programs, HHSC data for programs that give care to pre-kindergarten through 6th grade students will be released.

The site will be updated daily before 3 p.m. during the week. HHSC reminds the public that the data is self-reported and subject to change, and it will only reflect cases as of the previous business day. Aggregated data will only be posted for small, home-cased childcare operations.

The data will be posted on the HHSC website here. It’s available as an Excel spreadsheet download.

Texas Education Agency to release new tracking system

The Texas Education Agency will also be releasing data about COVID-19 cases in schools to the public. The agency announced Thursday that it teamed up with the Texas Department of State Health Services to make it happen.

The new system will track, monitor and report confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas’ public schools. School districts will report cases to DSHS, which will provide the data to the public.

But the system will only start in September—a month after some schools districts have already gone back for in-person classes.

Just this month, the agency said it wasn’t sure whether or not it would collect COVID-19 data for public schools, and that the matter was still under active deliberation.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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