In a July 14 letter, Superintendent Tom Leonard and Board President Jennifer Champagne criticized a set of guidelines released by the Texas Education Agency for the 2020-21 school year, which they called "disappointing."
The letter was sent to Abbott and TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, among others, and it claims that the TEA’s recommendation to provide in-person instruction for all students will eliminate any efforts for social distancing.
In several ways, the TEA guidelines contradict EISD’s tentative reopening plan, referred to as "Ready to Re-Engage," or R2R, which was released June 24. As one example, the EISD plan calls for social distancing by limiting classroom capacity to no more than 10 students, which district officials said would be impossible if every student were to request in-person instruction.
According to the letter, EISD remains committed to implementing the R2R plan and is requesting the flexibility to minimize classroom ratios and maintain six feet of social distance.
Furthermore, the district is now advocating for 100% remote learning until Travis County's seven-day rolling hospitalization average dips below five—a threshold set by Austin Public Health officials.
EISD also asked state policymakers for an additional commitment to allocate current or future federal funds to schools statewide.
“We want schools to reopen—that is our mission and our passion,” the letter states. “But we must also be mindful of many variables, while keeping the health and safety of students, teachers and staff at the heart of everything we do.”