Two North East Independent School District employees who attended an on-campus event Monday with hundreds of other staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Around 2:30 p.m. Monday, when the school district notified the roughly 500 employees who attended the convocation ceremony at Legacy of Educational Excellence High School, NEISD knew of one positive case. A second employee came forward Monday evening. The district will not conduct contact tracing to determine who was directly exposed to the sick individuals, district spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said.

As required by the state, NEISD also notified the Department of State Health Services and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District that the employees tested positive for COVID-19. The district also disinfected and cleaned the affected areas, a protocol that has been in place since last school year, Chancellor said.

“Any time we find out a positive case, that person is interviewed and asked where all they were,” she said, adding that people who test positive must quarantine at home for at least 10 days.

At the time, people on school property were not required to wear masks. That changed Tuesday when Metro Health issued a directive ordering everyone who enters a public school to wear masks. Chancellor said the district does not ask employees about their vaccination status.

The Metro Health directive also requires schools to inform students’ parents or guardians when students have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. Unvaccinated people must quarantine for 14 days after coming in close contact with a coronavirus-positive individual.

Chancellor said NEISD is reevaluating its contact tracing protocols to comply with the health directive. Currently, the district does not conduct contact tracing.

“It’s extremely difficult to identify close contacts when mask usage is optional,” she said.

Some students attended the convocation to perform on the stage, but they had little interaction with the staff members in the auditorium, Chancellor said. They performed at the beginning of the ceremony and left.

Chancellor said other employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday. At least 30 NEISD students and 35 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but that is not a cumulative count.

NEISD’s first day of school is Monday, but Castle Hills Elementary, a year-round school, has been in session for four weeks.

Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum is the San Antonio Report's education reporter.