HOUSTON – The Texas State Teachers Association announced Monday that its members had reported hundreds of COVID-19 protocol discrepancies or violations in the first couple weeks of the school year.
“In an online survey, 664 TSTA members from 135 districts around the state reported a variety of district practices and deficiencies, including personnel policies, which violate recommended guidelines or best practices for school safety during this health emergency,” TSTA officials wrote in a press release Monday.
On its website, the union, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, says it has 3.2 million members. It is unclear what methodology was used to conduct the survey and if the reports made by TSTA members were verified by the union as confirmed issues and COVID-19 violations within the school district.
In the Houston area, the most complaints of violations were submitted by teachers in the Cy-Fair Independent School District with 210 reports of violations since the school district began the academic year last week. This isn’t the first time Cy-Fair ISD teachers have raised red flags about going back to in-person learning. An anonymous, informal survey conducted by members of the Cy-Fair ISD community revealed educators were afraid of returning to school.
The survey found that the most common issues reported by TSTA members were with ventilation and social distancing in classrooms.
“All these issues reinforce TSTA’s warnings," Molina said in the release. "The state of Texas has been in too big a hurry to reopen school buildings. Texas isn’t back to normal yet, and no amount of premature school openings is going to change that. We hope we haven’t prolonged the day when we can think about being normal again.”
See the Houston-area districts where the most teachers reported COVID-19 violations during the first couple weeks of the school year.
Across the state, TSTA claims it has received hundreds of reports of COVID-19 protocol violations from members in 135 school districts. Here’s a look at each violation and the number of reports the union says it received.
What the school districts are saying
KPRC 2 reached out to the Houston-area school districts with a high number of reported violations. These are the statements they released in response to the TSTA data:
“Cypress-Fairbanks ISD is the largest district in Texas to reopen with 8,000 teachers and 45% of our (118,000) students electing to return to campus this past Tuesday, Sept. 8. The LEAD Safely 2020-2021 Plan (www.cfisd.net/leadsafely) has numerous health and safety protocols, including but not limited to, the implementation of daily health self-screenings, limiting congregation of students and adults in areas, one-way hallways and stairs, increased cleaning and sanitization of surfaces, the requirement of face masks, desk/table shields for students and teachers, limiting non-essential visitors, and frequent reminders to use hand sanitizer or wash hands properly. These health and safety protocols benefit everyone on a campus. Principals have reported that on-campus students and staff are taking health and safety precautions very seriously, and any concerns or violations should be immediately discussed with a supervisor.”
“There are currently no teachers working in classrooms, all virtual learning is being conducted remotely. However there are safety measures in place including: mandatory mask usage by both students and staff, campus provided personal protection equipment, hand sanitizing stations, social distancing, plexiglass, quarantine rooms for ill students or staff, in addition to others for when teachers do return to campus to provide instruction.”
Clear Creek ISD
“The Clear Creek Independent School District has not received any notice or claim of a safety violation.”