AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Education Agency posted draft guidelines for attendance, enrollment and public health on the agency’s website Tuesday.
The TEA said in a statement to FOX 7 Austin the documents were posted as a mistake, saying “they were posted in the staging portion of the TEA website by mistake as part of an internal document review.”
“Regarding agency guidance, if you saw TEA documents circulating before 3 p.m. Tuesday titled ‘SY 20-21 Attendance and Enrollment FAQ,’ and/or ‘SY 20-21 Public Health Guidance Per Executive Order No. GA-26,’ those were draft documents. They were posted in the staging portion of the TEA website by mistake as part of an internal document review. A final version of the ‘SY 20-21 Attendance and Enrollment FAQ,’ was publicly released by TEA at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23. As we continue to closely monitor the public health situation, we are, in fact, still soliciting feedback on the Public Health Guidance. Additional guidance will be provided soon. We will continue to prioritize public health and safety above all else.”
The draft says that schools will be required to offer on-campus instruction for students who want to get back on campus.
“I think the biggest concern that we had from the drafts is that in-person learning be provided for everyone," said Zeph Capo, President of the Texas American Federation of Teachers.
Capo said he agrees that many students may need to return to campus, but as COVID-19 continues to spike in areas across Texas, safety should be the number one concern. "Our first and foremost priority should be the safety and security of everyone," he said.
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In the drafts, school districts will be recommended, but not required, to have staff and students wear masks. Any mandates would be left up to the districts themselves.
Capo said the state should be enforcing state-wide orders when it comes to health and safety. “One of the areas that the state should be mandating is requiring safety plans be required by all districts,” he said. “The state is in a unique position to ensure minimum standards for safety provided to districts.”
The drafts also go on to discuss different distance learning teaching methods and how it will determine state funding.
In “Method A – Remote Synchronous Instruction” the state would count daily minutes and funding would be based off of those minutes. In “Method B - Remote Asynchronous Instruction,” attendance would be based off the student's "engagement," and the progress they make throughout the day.
TEA said they are soliciting feedback from the drafts and additional guidance will be provided soon.
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