TEA released direction July 7 recommending districts offer in-person instruction for all grade levels every day and for every student whose parents want them on campus; however, parents can request a virtual learning option if desired.
The TEA guidelines did not include restrictions on classroom capacity but did state that students are encouraged to social distance in classrooms, and desks should be spaced 6 feet apart when space allows.
The guidelines also require districts to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders regarding face masks, which, according to the agency, are subject to change as the coronavirus pandemic continues. However, the guidelines permit districts to require the use of face masks when developmentally appropriate.
In several ways, these 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 would be impossible if every district student were to request in-person instruction and if the district were required to provide it.
“TEA fails to acknowledge the wishes of both staff and community,” EISD’s statement said, "nor does it recognize how essentially eliminating social distancing in classrooms could profoundly affect the health of adults in our schools.”
EISD confirmed that it will adjust its R2R plan in accordance with the updated guidelines, which, according to the district, will jeopardize the health and safety of the community.
“While we intend to provide in-building instruction for any student selecting that option, TEA’s decision may have a significant effect on our ability to provide adequate staffing and manage class sizes, which eliminates any efforts to control social distancing,” the statement reads.
As more information becomes available, district representatives said they will inform the community of any changes to the R2R plan.