90.3 F
Fort Worth
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Texas will extend time that schools will be allowed to stay online-only, Gov. Greg Abbott says

Other News

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

The Associated Press Benchmark U.S. crude oil for September delivery fell 73 cents to settle at $41.22 a barrel Friday. Brent crude...

Dallas company part of Aug. 10 IPO slate

Initial public offerings scheduled to debut next weekNEW YORK (AP) — The following is a list of initial public offerings planned for...

So far in MLB, West is best at avoiding COVID-19 disruption

By DAVID BRANDT AP Sports Writer PHOENIX (AP) — It was a rarity at the time and provided a...

M. Ray Perryman: Texas economy will improve – if COVID cooperates

The last two (May and June) Texas jobs reports were encouraging, reflecting the fact that, as businesses began to reopen, what was...

                    By Aliyya Swaby and Patrick Svitek

                    July 14, 2020

      Texas will give school districts more flexibility to keep their school buildings closed to in-person instruction this fall as coronavirus cases continue to rise, Gov. Greg Abbott told a Houston television station Tuesday.

      Public health guidance released last week indicated that school districts had to stay virtual for up to three weeks after their start dates, so they could get their safety protocols ironed out before bringing more students to campus. If they stayed closed longer than that, they would lose state funding.

      Abbott on Tuesday said that time would be extended. His comment comes on the heels of a tumultuous week, after state education officials released guidance last Tuesday requiring districts to offer in-person instruction for five days a week to all parents who want it.

      “I think Mike Morath, the commissioner of education, is expected to announce a longer period of time for online learning at the beginning of the school year, up to the flexibility at the local level,” Abbott said to KTRK. “This is going to have to be a local-level decision, but there will be great latitude and flexibility provided at the local level.”

      The news, which Abbott said would be finalized in the next few days, will likely come as a relief to superintendents and educators asking the state for more flexibility on when and how they reopen school buildings. Some local health officials, including in El Paso and Laredo, had already demanded that schools in their areas start the year with virtual learning until cases go down.

      And some larger, urban school districts, including San Antonio Independent School District, are planning to push their start dates later and keep all students online for three weeks, in order to avoid reopening school buildings as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge.

      Abbott and Morath have received numerous letters from school board presidents, Democratic state politicians and teacher advocates demanding more flexibility on when to keep school buildings closed and more public health mandates to keep teachers and students safe.

      Parents can choose to keep their kids learning virtually from home, but the state provided little guidance for how to protect teachers, who may be more at risk for severe illness due to the virus.

      Public health experts have warned that reopening school buildings in areas where cases are rising precipitously will result in entire communities becoming infected.

      “If you open K-12 in areas where virus transmission accelerating, teachers, staff will get sick, as will parents,” tweeted Peter Hotez, an infectious disease expert and the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “All it takes is for one or two teachers, staff, or parents to enter hospital, and it will be lights out.”

      But political pressure from the Trump administration to open schools is still intense, with President Donald Trump himself criticizing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for rolling out strict guidance for schools.

      The political conflict on when to reopen schools has left teachers and parents terrified and uncertain about the best decisions for themselves and their families. Teachers unions and associations have been encouraging their members to find legal avenues to stay safe, including retiring early, resigning or filing for medical and family leave.

      But Abbott stopped short of saying in another television interview that state officials would cancel next spring’s administration of the state standardized test.

      “It’s way too early to determine whether or not the STAAR test may not be used this particular year,” he said. “We gotta wait and see.”

                    “Texas will extend time that schools will be allowed to stay online-only, Gov. Greg Abbott says” was first published at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/07/14/texas-schools-online-pandemic/ by The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune is proud to celebrate 10 years of exceptional journalism for an exceptional state.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

Michael Foley, Baylor University Each year the holidays bring...

Texas universities have started shedding jobs and are bracing for a serious financial hit

By Raga Justin, The Texas Tribune Aug. 7, 2020 "Texas universities have started shedding...

Texas college football is limiting stadium capacity, mandating masks and testing athletes. Here’s what you need to know.

T By Raga Justin, The Texas Tribune Aug. 6, 2020 "Texas college football is limiting...

Private schools in Texas limit enrollment as they aim to reopen classrooms

By Stacy Fernández, The Texas Tribune Aug. 5, 2020 "Private schools in Texas limit...

Tarrant County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force launches survey

Tarrant County COVID School-Age Child Care Task Force is seeking information from parents to help support solutions to...