Texas State Teacher Association to governor: Close schools for the remainder of the school year

The teachers' room is vacated in Zelk Zoltan Bilingual Primary School in Nyiregyhaza, northeastern Hungary, Monday, March 16, 2020. From today, primary and secondary schools stay closed to students as a precaution against the spread of the novel coronavirus. Lessons will be delivered through the internet, and teachers' instructions will continue remotely. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP) (MTVA - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund)

HOUSTON – Texas State Teachers Association has one clear message to Gov. Greg Abbott: keep all schools closed for the remainder of the school year.

The association started a petition, noting school closures would keep students, educators, and communities safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. They noted “a lack of clarity and leadership” from Abbott has caused “unnecessary hardship for students and educators.”

“Governor Abbott must provide strong action and direction on economic support for educators, TEA rules, graduation requirements, teacher appraisals, childcare and nutrition assistance, and supplemental pay for our district employees who are going above and beyond,” the organization wrote in the petition.

The association requests the government to ensure the feeding of school children by increasing funding to expand access to newly eligible families impacted by the coronavirus and increase flexibility to allow alternative meal distribution efforts and reach more kids, including those in rural areas.

The association also recommended the government keep school districts funded to avoid layoffs and assist in paying hourly workers, such as education support professionals. They also pushed to provided guaranteed, paid sick leave for all school employees.

The association also asked to waive all teacher appraisals for the academic year and to ensure educational equity for students with disabilities, those who are economically disadvantaged, and those who are English language learners.

“As Governor, you have the duty and power to ensure safety and provide real peace of mind to vulnerable communities during this crisis. Educators are responding valiantly to the needs of Texans in this critical time. Do the right thing to keep kids, educators, and communities safe,” Texas State Teachers Association wrote in the petition.

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