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School districts discuss moving forward after TEA announces new guidelines to get students back on campus

HOUSTON – Many school districts were discussing Wednesday how to move forward with the start of school under the new state guidelines.

“The best learning is still going to take place in the traditional classroom,” said Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole of Barbers Hill ISD.

Dr. Poole is the superintendent of the Barbers Hill Independent School District. A survey showed 80% of parents there want their kids in school.

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“We’re gonna be as safe as you can rationally be, but you cannot possibly eliminate risks,” said Poole.

Gov. Greg Abbott laid out an array of guidelines from the Texas Education Agency on Tuesday.

  • Schools must offer in-school and at-home virtual learning.
  • Districts are required to follow the state mask order, which applies to students ages 10 and up.
  • Teachers and staff must self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms every day.
  • The state recommended schools spread out the desks if there’s room in the classroom.

Barbers Hill ISD will be able to use a school that was set to be vacant this year.

“Now it will have Pre-K and K, and we fortunate to have that that’s just a way for us to spread things out,” he said.

Dr. Poole said children will unavoidably be next to each other, but complete online learning could be detrimental to a student’s development.

“It is a very poor replacement for education and for the students that need it the most, that lack a lot of structure at home, in many instances, it is no replacement.”

School districts are set to announce their back-to-school plans soon.


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