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'The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be' | Educators react to lack of TEA guidance for schools

There's so many questions -- yet so little answers -- on what this coming school year will look like in Texas.

HOUSTON — The Texas Education Agency released some guidance Tuesday for districts heading back to school, but it wasn't what was expected.

Many educators and parents are now frustrated from the lack of information they are getting.

There's so many questions, yet so little answers, on what this coming school year will look like in Texas. And August is just around the corner.

“The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be," said Zeph Capo, president of Texas American Federation of Teachers.

Letters from school districts are being sent out to parents. In her letter, the Spring Branch ISD superintendent said they “share parents deep frustration that we still lack state guidance.”

In Houston ISD's letter, the district said they’ve formed their own task force to help create their own guidelines.

“At this point, I don’t think school districts have any choice. They have to move forward and make decisions to the best of their ability and hope that the state doesn’t start second guessing them afterwards," Capo said.

Capo said without TEA releasing complete guidance on safety protocols or in-classroom teaching, someone needs to make a plan.

And with time running out, it may be on the school districts to step up.

That’s exactly what Fort Bend ISD said they are doing.

“We’re going to develop a solid plan that incorporates the appropriate social distancing, and all of the PPE, we’ve already committed to that," sad Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD superintendent.

A layout their potential plan includes:

  • Online schooling for anyone who wants to stay home full time 
  • In-school full time teaching for grades Pre-K through 6th
  • A combination of at-home and in-school teaching for grades 7th to 12th

But the problem is TEA hasn’t yet put out any guidance for in school teaching, hence the uncertainty.

“But I consistently reinforce to our community, that that is subject to change based on additional guidance," Dupre said.

KHOU 11 reached out to several other school districts, requesting interviews with their superintendents, including HISD, Katy ISD, Klein ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Galveston ISD, Pearland ISD, Cy-Fair ISD and Pasadena ISD.

Galveston ISD superintendent Dr. Kelli Moulton provided the following statement:

"Considering school funding, it's comforting to know that the TEA has plans to allow for virtual/remote learning with continued accountability for average daily attendance. We are still waiting for more detailed guidance about protocols involving a return to school during the pandemic. We have plans for multiple scenarios but would like to start moving in a direction in accordance with TEA guidelines and in conjunction with other public schools across the state."

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