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Temple School Board OKs Sept. 8 start date

The Temple School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to delay the start of in-person and online instruction until Sept. 8. (File)
The Temple School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to delay the start of in-person and online instruction until Sept. 8. (File)(WVLT)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 1:24 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The Temple School Board voted unanimously Wednesday morning to approve an amended calendar that delays the start of in-person and online instruction until Sept. 8.

“The reasoning behind this decision to push back our start date is threefold,” Temple Superintendent Bobby Ott said.

“First, we do not agree with the idea of forcing every student to begin school with remote learning knowing it is statistically less optimal as an alternative to in-person instruction,” he said.

“Second, from the very beginning, Temple ISD has supported the notion of a parent’s choice in selecting their child’s learning option.  Starting remotely in August would deprive our parents of that choice.

“Lastly, delaying the start of school affords Temple ISD additional time to best prepare for the coming year,” he said.

District employees will report to campuses over the next two weeks for planning and professional development, the district said in a press release.

“Our intent in keeping staff start dates the same is to make best use of this extra time we have without adding additional days to their contracts,” said Temple ISD board president, Dan Posey.

Bell County’s health authority, Dr. Janice Smith, issued an order last week delaying the start of on-campus instruction in order to help stem the spread of COVID-19, but on Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued guidance that said local health officials do not have the authority to mandate such a delay simply as a preventative measure.

“There was a great deal of collaboration between the Bell County Public Health District and local school districts leading up to Dr. Smith’s order last week,” Ott said.

“We decided to stay the course because it was well thought-out, and we need to begin cultivating some consistency. Even though we are dealing with a very fluid situation, we can’t continue to change plans every time governing entities walk back their messages,”  he said.

“It’s not fair to our staff, our students or our families,” he said.

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