AUSTIN, Texas - From graduation to going back to the classroom, schools are going to operate differently because of COVID-19.
Gov. Greg Abbott and the TEA gave a brief update on the education system across the state during the pandemic starting with graduation for seniors. On Tuesday they approved multiple types of graduation ranging from virtual to car parades, to socially distant in-person graduation.
“It’s important that we honor that achievement as they begin to transition to the next phase in life. We are excited to create guidance that does maintain the health and safety of all the members of the community,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath.
Alongside graduation, they also talked about what school could look like this fall. Schools could start earlier and in turn leave earlier for the winter break.
“With the concerns and anticipation being that whether it be for the common flu or the flu combined with the resurgence of covid there may need to be a longer period of time during the winter break not to have all the students together at one time,” said Abbott.
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Right now the governor said this is the planning stage for schools.
“The guidance from the white house is that we need have 42 days of consecutive downtrend in the virus for us to reopen the schools,” said Kevin Brown, executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators.
Brown feels each school’s response may be different this fall based on how many COVID-19 cases there are locally. This means some schools will still be doing online learning while others go back in person. “In a community that may have not had any outbreak at all, they may go back to school and things may resume to semi-normal. In other communities you may not have that in long stretches of time,” said Brown.
Some schools may go back in person but then leave for two to four weeks depending on how the virus acts. “We’re going to have to be nimble in this in order to open and close schools as needed based on the localized outbreak,” said Brown.
Brown said, in general, they have learned a lot from this experience moving forward. “Hopefully we have better bandwidth across our entire state I think this has exposed inequities in our state in terms of who has WiFi internet and that kind of access. That’s a fundamental part in being able to educate people at home,” said Brown.
Brown feels we can expect more concrete plans on the future of schooling during the summer
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