Abbott says Texas schools can extend online-only learning past three weeks

Talk 1370 Newsroom
July 14, 2020 - 7:13 pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas school districts will be able to extend all-online learning past the first three weeks of the school year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday evening.

Abbott, in an interview with Houston's KTRK-TV, said an announcement would be coming later this week. "I think Mike Morath, the commissioner of education, is expected to announce a longer period of time for online learning at the beginning of the school year, up to the flexibility at the local level," Abbott said. "This is going to have to be a local-level decision, but there will be great latitude and flexibility provided at the local level."

Under the original guidance from the Texas Education Agency, districts could use the first three weeks of the school year to "ramp up" their coronavirus efforts and protocols, but then needed to be able to support in-school learning or risk losing state funding.

Abbott and Morath have both received a number of letters from districts across the state, including the Leander and Round Rock districts here in the Austin area. And on Tuesday morning, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said his recommendation was that districts push back the start of in-person learning to at least September 8.

So far, Round Rock and Austin ISD officials have said they will start the year with three weeks of only online learning.

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