HOUSTON – With the coronavirus pandemic still going strong, Texas parents have been wondering what back-to-school will look like for their children in the fall.
The key concern is ensuring the safety of students, teachers and school staff as students return to another year of learning.
While school districts continue to finalize back-to-school plans, the Texas Education Agency issued its “SY 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance” Tuesday afternoon that aim to provide all the guidelines required for students to safely return to campus in the fall.
“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.”
The guidelines issued by TEA will go into effect immediately for summer school and to help Texas school districts plan for the coming 2020-21 school year.
Despite budgetary challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Morath said state lawmakers are “committed to fully funding in-class and remote instruction for every child in the upcoming school year.”
Here are some of the highlights of the TEA announcement
- Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school every day
- All parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their children, initially, or at any point throughout the year. If parents choose remote learning, they may be asked to commit to it for a full grading period (6 or 9 weeks) but will not have to make that commitment more than 2 weeks in advance
- Schools and districts will be reimbursed for any extra COVID-19-related expenses incurred during the 2019-20 school year
- Tens of millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to school systems at no cost
Mandatory guidelines for all Texas schools
- All students, teachers, staff and visitors coming to campus must be screened before being allowed on campus
- Masks will be required while in school buildings, per Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest executive order requiring Texans wear masks. The exceptions to this order will be children under the age of 10. Other exceptions to this order can be found here.
- Schools will be required to follow any forthcoming executive orders issued by Abbott.
Additional health procedures are recommended for every school that can reasonably implement those procedures. Districts will have the option to establish a phased-in return to on-campus instruction for up to the first three weeks of school.
Read all the public health guidelines issued by TEA below: