TEA unveils guidelines for students' return in 2020-21 school year

Parents will have choice of in-person or remote learning for students; masks to be required in schools

Talk 1370 Newsroom
July 07, 2020 - 4:21 pm


AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- New guidelines announced Tuesday will allow Texas parents to choose to send their kids to school or have them learn remotely.

The Texas Education Agency unveiled the guidelines for the 2020-21 school year, which is set to begin in just over a month. The plan, according to TEA, prioritizes student health and safety while ensuring students receive quality instruction either way.

"Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff," said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. "That is why the guidance laid out today will provide flexibility to both parents and districts to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis. The state is and remains committed to providing a high-quality education to all Texas students, while ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers, staff, and families."

Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day. Parents will also have the option to choose remote learning for their children, either 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.

Districts will have the option to "phase in" on-campus learning over the first three weeks, in order to ensure that all appropriate health and safety procedures are fully in place. Those procedures will include required health screenings for anyone coming on campus, and the requirement of masks in school buildings in line with Gov. Abbott's executive order.

TEA says it will also reimburse districts for extra COVID-19 related expenses incurred during the 2019-20 school year, provide PPE to school systems at no cost, and provide learning tools and training to help bridge the digital divide for students at home.

More information is available on TEA's website.

Officials said it's entirely possible that some campuses may close for brief periods during the upcoming year, due to the nature of the pandemic. There may also need to be changes to the framework TEA has laid out, if the public health situation has significant changes.

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