Teachers concerned about potential TEA school guidelines for reopening

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 8:48 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - A draft accidentally posted on the Texas Education Agency’s website on Tuesday outlined a mostly hands-off public health approach to schools reopening in the fall.

It has a few parameters giving school districts most of the control according to the documents.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath says the draft outlined no final decisions made and that a full set of public health guidelines will be provided soon.

There were final guidelines released on attendance and enrollment stating they will count students taking virtual classes in the attendance figures.

Members of the Texas State Teachers Association say schools aren’t safe or ready.

“It makes absolutely no sense,” said region ten President Richard Beaule.

“It should be understood that this isn’t a case of teachers not wanting to teach. It’s a case of teachers being asked to needlessly risk themselves and their livelihoods.”

Beaule says it will be challenging to enforce guidelines in highly populated schools.

“There’s a huge danger there especially when you’re dealing with asymptomatic children or adults,” he said.

“They’ll bring their symptoms in and get exposed to hundreds of people in the course of one day.”

Many say in addition to masks, school districts should have staggered schedules and limit the number of students on campus each day.

“They’re in virtual most of the time but they can still have some of that face-to-face interaction,” Beaule said.

“The difficulty becomes spreading out those students so that they’re safe and don’t infect each other, the teachers and staff.”

Beaule added that the TSTA wants to ask the TEA and government officials for its input.

“We’re ready to talk,” he said.

“If you’re ready to listen and take input, we’ll be happy to let you know the comfort levels that we see because the educators are where the rubber meets the road. It’ll be the educators that make in-person learning happen.”

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