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New wastewater analysis finds 'high' COVID-19 levels on some Houston ISD campuses

Wastewater analysis seems to contradict what HISD's COVID dashboard, which uses self-reported data, reflects.

HOUSTON — Thursday's dismissal at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary may be among the last for Ashla Stone’s 3rd grader -- at least for now.

“I’m going to just do it virtual,” Stone said.

She and two daughters all got COVID, have since recovered, but remain concerned.

That's despite Houston ISD’s COVID dashboard, which tracks active cases district-wide, showing only four cases among students at Rodriguez and zero among staff.

"My niece, she was in a class with a student that tested positive, so the whole class is out," Stone said. "So I don’t know how that’s four. But the whole class is out."


Rodriguez is one of six HISD campuses where new wastewater analysis by the Houston Health Department revealed the highest COVID levels for the longest periods of time.

"It is gross,” said Houston Federation of Teachers president Jackie Anderson.

But Anderson believes it may be the most scientific way to gauge spread among students and staff, since district dashboards in HISD and elsewhere are based on self-reporting.

"You know, it’s hard to say if you’re going to get really accurate information,” Anderson said.

Like health experts, she believes new data might encourage more vaccinations if nothing else.

"Walk into any drugstore, any clinic, and they’re free," Anderson said. "But we still have a lot of people who are choosing not to be vaccinated, and that’s a problem.”

Houston ISD has yet to comment on this new wastewater data.

However, like most other district dashboards in the area, self-reported cases have recently dipped.