The Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday its guidelines for students to have a safe return to school — news every parent has been waiting for.
Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day, along with health and safety incentives.
“Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said.
Morath said the guidance will ensure the health and safety of students, teachers, staff and families, and provides flexibility to both parents and districts “to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis.”
Morath said that despite 2020-2021 being a challenging budget year, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and other legislative leaders are committed to fully funding in-class and remote instruction for every child in the upcoming school year.
Here’s the guidance:
- Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like for their children to learn in school each day.
- In addition, all parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their children, initially, or at any point as the year progresses. Parents who choose remote instruction for their students may be asked to commit to remote instruction for a full grading period (e.g. 6 or 9 weeks), but will not have to make that commitment more than two weeks in advance, so they can make a decision based on the latest public health information.
- Health and safety procedures will be in place to support student and teacher safety.
- Some health procedures are mandated for every school in the state. For example, all students, teachers, staff, and visitors coming to campus must be screened before being allowed on campus. Consistent with the governor’s most recent executive order, and assuming that order is still in place, masks will be required while in school buildings, with certain exceptions made, as noted in the order. Schools will also be required to follow any forthcoming executive orders issued by the governor.
- Additional health procedures are recommended for every school that can reasonably implement those procedures.
- Districts have the option to establish a phased-in return to on-campus instruction for up to the first three weeks of the school year to ensure all appropriate health and safety procedures are fully in place.
- TEA is providing school systems with resources. This includes:
- Reimbursement for extra COVID-19-related expenses incurred during the 2019-20 school year.
- Tens of millions of Personal Protective Equipment supplies provided to school systems at no cost to Texas schools.
- Free online, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills-aligned learning tools to deliver remote instruction.
- Teacher training provided at no cost to the school system.
- Statewide efforts to help bridge the digital divide for students at home, along with other ongoing support.
The guidance was developed with input from Abbott’s Coronavirus Medical Advisory Team, the Governor’s Strike Force to Reopen Texas, Texas school system leaders, ongoing global analysis of school operational practices, ongoing global analysis of research on viral spread in schools, and the latest peer-reviewed viral research studies, a press release states.
The release stated that parents and educators should expect to see some campuses close for brief periods during the upcoming school year, and there may need to be additional changes to these guidelines as well.Texas Education Agency’s public health guidance is here.