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Coronavirus COVID-19 Local News Schools

Comal ISD Posts Detailed COVID-19 Handbook on Its Website

The day before classes start in Comal ISD, Smithson Valley High School English teachers Holly Leach and Carol Jackson gather personal protection equipment (PPE) and supplies to protect their students and themselves from COVID-19. Twitter image.

Comal ISD clarified all things COVID-19 on Friday, posting an addendum to the Student-Parent Handbook 2020-21 on its website.

Salwa Lanford, a communications specialist for the district, said the document recaps district policies and procedures that are specific to COVID-19 only. There is no new information.

“It doesn’t live with this document (the handbook) forever,” she said. To see the handbook, click HERE.

The Launch Back-to-School 2020-21 addendum includes detailed information about cleaning protocols, campus-nurse clinic protocols, common spaces, child-nutrition procedures, face coverings, hand washing, health screener and social distancing.

Kate Fraser, a Comal ISD middle school history teacher who has criticized the district in the past for its lack of transparency, posted on Facebook that she’s glad to see the addendum but worried that it’s not enough.

“Campus administrators will be enforcing this policy, which is a really good thing, but I am afraid it will catch some parents and students off guard because of the lack of clarity from the district on this issue,” she said. “I am concerned that campus administration will be faced with (justifiably) upset parents who are unclear regarding what is expected.”

On Aug. 14, Comal ISD was forced to reiterate its position on face coverings and social distancing after a series of videos it released confused parents about the new rules.

“To clarify, students will not be required to wear face-coverings during PE, recess, or outdoor activities provided they are maintaining social distancing,” Comal ISD posted to its Facebook page. “They also will be able to remove face coverings in the classrooms and other spaces when they can maintain a safe distance from the teacher and other students. We apologize for the confusion.”

Highlights from Friday’s Addendum:


  • Students must maintain a six-foot distance from each other
  • Traffic flow direction must be designated on each side
  • Secondary campuses will adjust their schedules to minimize the number of students in the hall


  • Students must maintain six-foot distance within their group
  • Groups/classes must maintain a 12-foot distance between groups
  • Hand sanitizer must be used upon entering and exiting the cafeteria.


  • Follow all UIL guidance
  • PE and athletics classes meet outside whenever possible
  • Students must maintain a six-foot distance within their groups
  • Groups must maintain a 12-foot distance between grpi[s
  • Hand sanitizer must be used upon entering and exiting the gym
  • Face coverings are not required when students are actively exercising as long as they maintain six feet of distance

Outdoor Play Areas

  • Access to play areas will be limited to one class/student group at a time.
  • Students are encouraged to maintain social-distance measures as much as practical and developmentally appropriate.
  • Playground equipment must be cleaned after use/or daily for designated equipment
  • Playground structures will be sprayed with peroxide-based disinfectant on days structures are used

Cafeteria Capacities

  • Seating will encourage social distancing according to current Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidance while allowing for the maximum number of students to be accommodated during each serving period.
  • Campuses will adjust lunch schedules based on maximum cafeteria capacity.

Staggered Serving Line Schedules

  • Classes will arrive seven minutes apart.
  • Each class has 30 minutes in the cafeteria.
  • Students are asked to uphold social-distancing requirements while entering and waiting in the cafeteria service line.
  • Students for whom it is “developmentally appropriate” must wear face coverings until seated.
  • Stage-area seating will be reserved for pre-kindergarten, Pegasus students, etc.

Lunch Seating Areas

  • Seats available for use will be marked.
  • Tables with bench seating will have one student on each end of the bench on one side and one student in the middle of the opposite bench; adjacent tables will stagger seat configuration.

Face Coverings

  • All individuals “for whom it is developmentally appropriate” are required to wear a face covering indoors when social-distancing measures cannot be maintained.
  • Face coverings include any non-medical or medical-grade disposable face mask or cloth face that covers the nose.
  • Full-face shields that protect the eyes, nose and mouth and extend below the chin may be used in addition to a cloth-face covering.
  • Whenever educational context benefits from the ability to see an individual’s full face, the cloth face covering may be removed.
  • Face coverings should be worn in these locations when six-feet social distancing cannot be maintained: common areas, cafeteria, classrooms without physical barriers between desks, front office, during arrival and dismissal.
  • Face coverings do not have to be worn when eating or drinking, actively exercising, or when social distancing can be maintained.
  • N95 and other medical-grade face coverings are reserved for isolation areas.

Hand Washing

  • Proper hand-washing techniques will be taught to all students.
  • Hand-sanitizer stations will be placed at all building entrances, throughout hallways at secondary campuses, and in every classroom.
  • Hand-washing stations must be functioning in all restrooms.
  • Hands must be sanitizing when moving between classrooms when entering the building, and after using shared classroom items.
  • Hands must be washed before and after eating, after exercise or athletics/PE, when returning indoors from recess, after restroom use.

Health Screener

  • All Comal ISD campuses and buildings will utilize a digital health-screener app that individuals will use to verify they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have not been in contact with a lab-confirmed positive case.
  • Each student or guarding must complete a health-screener daily.
  • Temperature checks will not be taken on a daily basis.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • All individuals “for whom it is developmentally appropriate” are required to wear a face covering indoors when social-distancing measures cannot be maintained.
  • Comal ISD requires face coverings for all students.
  • Bus riders are required to wear face coverings for the duration of the trip.
  • Students are encouraged to wear face coverings in hallways and locker rooms.

COVID-19 Communication Framework

  • Communication begins with a phone call between the individual who tested positive and a Comal ISD case manager.
  • Anyone identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by the district case manager.
  • Building-level communication will be sent to all students/staff members who are regularly in the building.
  • Each campus will designate a campus case manager.

Response to a Positive Case

  • Students to display symptoms will be isolated. Areas used by that individual will be closed off, cleaned and disinfected before the next day.
  • TEA stipulates that any individual with a lab-confirmed positive case will be reported to Comal County’s Office of Public Health, Bexar county Health and Region 8 Public Health.

Returning to Building Guidelines

  • Fever gone for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicine, improvement in symptoms and 10 days have passed since any new symptoms appeared.
  • TEA allows exceptions for individuals who are experiencing symptoms to return to school/work before these criteria are met. Individuals must have a note from their doctor providing an alternative diagnosis or negative test results from an approved COVID-19 testing location taken at least five days after the onset of symptoms.
  • Students or staff who have had close contact with someone who has a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 must stay home for the virus incubation period of 14 days.

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