A laboratory technician prepares COVID-19 patient samples for semiautomatic testing at Northwell Health Labs in March in Lake Success, N.Y. 

The overwhelming majority of local public school campuses didn’t report any data to the state during the most recent reporting period regarding the state of the pandemic in schools.

The data, released by the Texas Department of State Health Services this past week, covered reports from public schools through Jan. 3.

More data should be released sometime over the next few days.

A Denton Record-Chronicle analysis of the data focused on 11 local school districts and nine charter school campuses in Denton County. Private schools are not included in the data releases.

Included school districts are Argyle, Aubrey, Denton, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Little Elm, Northwest, Pilot Point, Ponder and Sanger ISDs.

Some campuses included in this analysis might not be within county limits because not all of these districts are fully within Denton County.

Included charter schools are Corinth Classical Academy–Upper Campus, Corinth Classical Academy, Founders Classical Academy of Flower Mound, iSchool High Lewisville, Denton Classical Academy, Trivium Academy, the University of North Texas’ Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, as well as the North Texas Collegiate Academy’s south, north and east campuses.

Below is a brief summary of the Record-Chronicle’s findings following an analysis of the data:

Missing data

Only three school districts and one charter school campus submitted any data to the state during the most recent reporting period, and no district submitted data for all of its campuses.

Krum, Little Elm and Northwest ISDs, along with Corinth Classicial Academy — Upper Campus, were the only ones to submit data.

Just over 94% of all data from traditional public schools that should have been present in state disclosures was missing.

Most of the campuses in the remaining 6% had at least some of their submitted data suppressed by the state.

That trend worsened when compared with previous data releases. One possible reason is that many area schools were closed for holiday breaks during the most recent reporting period.

Another related trend that persisted: Campus officials continue to report they don’t know where students are infected.

Roughly 76.2% of infections reported by Jan. 3 came from an unconfirmed location. Officials could confirm only 23.2% of infections happened off campus and 0.6% happened on campus.

Denton County Public Health reported a surge of new virus cases in area schools as campuses reopened after their holiday breaks, so it might simply take some time for state data to catch up.

Relative student infection rates

Krum High School once again had the largest percentage of students infected, with 7.74% of students having been reported infected by Jan. 3.

Northwest ISD’s Tidwell Middle had the second-most with 5.7%. The rate at Lewisville ISD’s Griffin Middle increased slightly to 5.41%, giving the school the third-highest rate.

Krum ISD’s Dyer Elementary had the fourth-highest rate at 4.87%, followed by Sanger High at 4.76%.

Once again, these stats are now a couple weeks old, and the impending data disclosures very well could shift this and other rankings.

As in past weeks, the Record-Chronicle compared the number of students reported infected since the state began collecting data in late July with the number of students enrolled at each campus.

The state does not publish the number of students actively infected with the virus, so this metric looks at total infections.

The state only considers infections of students with direct on-campus interactions, but this measure includes total campus enrollment instead of on-campus enrollment for the sake of caution.

Relative staff infection rates

Unlike in the case of students, where the state might suppress data for one of several reasons, data related to infected staffers is most often unshielded.

Krum ISD retained the highest rate with 15.61% of staffers reported infected between July and Jan. 3.

It was followed by Sanger ISD with 12.74%, Argyle ISD with 10.79%, Little Elm ISD with 8.45% and Denton ISD with 5.21%.

Staff numbers for this metric were taken from Texas Education Agency reports from the end of the 2018-2019 school year, meaning they aren’t exact. Percentages will be most skewed for the fastest-growing districts, such as Denton ISD.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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