TEA: Districts must offer some in-person classes for 2020-21 school year

The Texas Education Agency, the headquarters for which are located in the William B. Travis building in downtown Austin, issued updated guidance to school districts around the state June 23. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
The Texas Education Agency, the headquarters for which are located in the William B. Travis building in downtown Austin, issued updated guidance to school districts around the state June 23. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Texas Education Agency, the headquarters for which are located in the William B. Travis building in downtown Austin, issued updated guidance to school districts around the state June 23. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the public health guidance released by the TEA are drafts and subject to change.

After Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers June 18 that students would be returning to Texas public schools in the fall, guidelines released by the Texas Education Agency June 23 fell in line with the governor's comments, mandating school districts offer some form of on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year.

According to the guidance released by the TEA, remote learning can still be an option for school districts, parents and teachers; it just cannot be the only option. Students will be able to record their attendance through either on-campus or virtual instruction, and parents will be allowed to request that their child be offered virtual instruction.

Draft guidance also lays out a list of “operational considerations” for school districts of practices that will be recommended but not required, including having hand sanitizer or hand washing stations at each entrance, cleaning more frequently, spacing out students at lunch and having all employees and visitors wear face masks. Districts are also encouraged to have students wear face masks or shields when developmentally appropriate.

Required actions for school districts, according to the TEA’s draft guidance, include closing off areas heavily used by individuals with lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, keeping individuals who exhibit symptoms of the virus home and posting a summary of district COVID-19 mitigation plans for the public one week prior to the start of campus activities.


“There will almost certainly be situations that necessitate temporary school closure due to positive COVID-19 cases in schools,” the TEA draft guidance reads. “Parents, educators and school administrators should be prepared for this in the event that it occurs, while actively working to prevent it through prevention and mitigation practices.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States were reported among children younger than 18. However, the TEA guidance notes that a child with a mild or asymptomatic case of the virus can still spread it to others, and the same is true for adults.

“Even if an infected person is only mildly ill, the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions that place them at higher risk,” the TEA's draft guidance reads.

TEA officials were scheduled to brief superintendents across the state on the guidance June 23, according to The Texas Tribune.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at jflagler@communityimpact.com


MOST RECENT

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
Austin Public Health coronavirus vaccine portal opens to all adults April 12

APH will continue outreach efforts to high-priority groups.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph has started a scholarship fund that will provide $6,000 to two Austin Community College Culinary Arts students and give them opportunity to be mentored by Bristol-Joseph and to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants. (Courtesy Emmer & Rye)
Austin chef starts scholarship and mentorship program for Austin Community College students

Tavel Bristol-Joseph started the scholarship fund, which will provide $6,000 to two ACC students and give them the opportunity to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants.

Snow and ice cover the pond on the southeastern side of the Mueller development in East Austin in February. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After winter storm, Austin puts together a plan for better temporary shelters

The locations, which could be schools, libraries or recreation centers, would be disconnected from traditional infrastructure and be able to sustain operations if the city were to experience widespread power or water outages.

Austin ISD is holding community conversation sessions April 12-May 6. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD community conversation sessions continuing through May 6

The series offers AISD families an opportunity to learn about the district’s strategic plan and ongoing budget planning.

Photo of a spread of fancy food
Lutie's Garden Restaurant now open at Commodore Perry Estate

The restuarant features "Texas heritage fare" by an award-winning husband-and-wife pair of chefs.

A resident at EdenHill Communities receives their second dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
Amid the struggle to get vaccinated, these Austin moms have helped over 3,900 people get appointments

The women volunteer their time searching for hard-to-find time slots that often become available in the middle of the night.

Photo of Austin Central Library
Austin Public Library to begin resuming in-person services May 10

Austin Public Library will begin reopening branches to the public in May after operating with only digital and curbside pickup services since June 2020.