Texas Education Agency Issues Guidelines for Reopening Schools

The Texas Education Agency released guidelines for reopening schools in the state on Tuesday. The guidelines addresses on-campus and virtual instruction, screening processes, responding to confirmed COVID-19 cases, health and hygiene practices and more.

School districts must offer daily on-campus instruction for all students who wishes to attend, but any parent may request for their child to receive virtual instruction from any school that offers such instruction.

Under the new guidelines, students and teachers will be required to wear masks that is consistent with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order when they begin in-person classes. At the moment, masks are required in counties with more than 20 reported COVID-19 cases. Abbott’s order doesn’t apply to children under 10 years old. Schools can mandate students and teachers wear masks but they do not have to, education Commissioner Mike Morath told the Texas Tribune.

Teachers and staffs should self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and must report to the school system if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

The guidelines offers “operational considerations” and suggests that schools “should attempt” to have hand sanitizer or hand washing stations with soap and water at each entrance and every classroom. It also notes that campuses “should institute more frequent cleaning practices” and whenever possible, to open windows to allow more air flow.

The Texas State Teachers Association criticized TEA’s guidelines for not providing “more explicit guidance” and not including teachers and parents in the decision-making process. "Teachers who fear they will compromise their health by returning to campus should have the choice of teaching remotely, and it doesn't look like TEA guidelines will require that," Clay Robison, a spokesperson for TSTA told the Texas Tribune.

The guidelines require school districts to post summaries of their COVID-19 plans for the public a week before in-person classes begin. Read more on the guidelines here.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].