Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is ready to for Texas schools to reopen. Monday, he said students could return to the state's school buildings on June 1. Wednesday afternoon, the Texas State Teachers Association said the week after next is too early to consider bringing kids back.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage across Texas, the health and safety of students, educators and our communities need to remain our first priority,” TSTA President Noel Candelaria said. “The pandemic has struck in the vast majority of Texas’ 254 counties, and more than 1,200 new cases were reported yesterday. Fourteen people died of COVID-19 in Dallas County alone, a daily high for Dallas.”
Before Abbott's announcement, school districts around the state, including Dallas ISD, had already announced plans for an all-virtual summer school.
According to the TSTA, Texas needs plenty of protective gear for staff and consistently enforced social distancing and sanitation policies before anything close to normal school can begin.
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"Half-hearted enforcement will endanger students and educators, and our members will not stand for it on their campuses,” Candelaria said.
Texas Education Agency guidelines for summer school in 2020 require that no student — whether mandated to attend summer school or not — be required to attend in-person classes. No more than 11 people should be in any enclosed area together regularly, including students, teachers and other staff, according to the agency.
The TEA also recommends that schools limit group work, assemblies, field trips and other group gatherings. Additionally, students should gather outside rather than in school buildings as often as possible.
All teachers should screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms before heading into work, according to the guidelines, and students should be instructed on how to appropriately wash their hands.