NOTE:  I attempted to not include articles in today's news that did not take yesterday's actions by TEA into consideration. - js read more arw

Texas public school districts must reopen campuses for in-person instruction in August in order to continue receiving state funding, unless Gov. Greg Abbott issues a school closure order or a confirmed case of COVID-19 on an individual campus forces a temporary shutdown of the building, Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Tuesday.  The mandate ensures that families wanting in-person classes will have the option for children to return to campuses, though students have the option to continue learning from home if they choose. Districts can restrict the number of students who receive on-campus instruction for the first three weeks of their school year, a period designed to “facilitate an effective back-to-school transition process,” TEA officials said. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas – July 7, 2020 – The Texas Education Agency today announced comprehensive guidelines for students to return to school, prioritizing their health and safety while ensuring that students receive quality instruction, whether they choose to learn in a safe on-campus environment or remotely.     view article arw

(TEXAS TRIBUNE) – When University of Texas at Austin senior Stephanie Flores-Reyes checked her fall course schedule earlier this week, she was shocked to see all five of her classes were slated to only be online. But as an international student from Mexico who spends the school year here on an F-1 student visa, it could suddenly be problematic for Flores-Reyes to be enrolled only in classes that meet online because of the coronavirus pandemic. view article arw

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — One of the largest teachers union in North Texas says the state’s framework for reopening schools doesn’t do enough to protect students and staff.  The Texas Education Agency released its much anticipated guidelines Tuesday afternoon. view article arw

Following guidance released by the Texas Education Agency on July 7, Spring ISD officials announced that its virtual town hall meetings will be postponed by one week to allow district officials time to develop another option for students that will provide daily on-campus learning for all grade levels.  The virtual town hall meeting in English will now be held July 20 at 6 p.m., and the one in Spanish will now be held July  view article arw

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- In a special-called board meeting July 7, Cy-Fair ISD trustees unanimously approved a plan to purchase enough Chromebook devices for all students in the district as well as 4G LTE broadband wireless hot spots for students without internet access at home. The district plans to spend up to $44 million on the effort, most of which will come from bond funds. view article arw

After tapping the brakes last month, the Texas Education Agency released its guidance for districts Tuesday afternoon – but many say the guidance is not specific enough, and that it’s too soon to say schools will open at all.  “Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath. “That is why the guidance laid out today will provide flexibility to both parents and districts to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis. The state is and remains committed to providing a high-quality education to all Texas students, while ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers, staff, and families.” view article arw

More than 2.5 million people attended the fair last year. This is the event's first cancellation since World War II.  The State Fair of Texas, slated for this fall, was canceled Tuesday because of ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, fair organizers said in a public statement. “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms," said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas, in a written statement. "In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and love." view article arw

For the upcoming school year, San Antonio parents will need to decide between keeping their kids learning at home or sending them back to classrooms — where the older ones will have to wear masks. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s latest guidance on how to reopen schools in the coronavirus era Tuesday brought the state in line with a Trump administration call for classrooms to stay open five days a week. Educators said they still don’t know how many parents will embrace that option. view article arw

Announcing guidelines for returning students to the classrooms this fall, the Texas Education Agency  said Tuesday that although on-campus learning will be offered every day, parents will have the choice between sending students to school or having them taught remotely.  “Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in announcing the plan. view article arw

“It’s going to be difficult and different,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa.  He told CBS 11 the final plan is coming into clearer focus, Besides personal protective equipment, the district has plans for short shutdowns to disinfect should a child get sick. As for how many families will opt for in-person learning, it’s still up in the air. “Early on we only had about 20% of the parents say they were going to stay at home,” he said. “Now that’s over 50% and it keeps growing with the spike in numbers.” view article arw

Conroe students are ready for the 2020 school year.  In a YouTube video, District Superintendent Curtis Null addressed safe strategies for students and parents and addressed the Houston-area’s COVID-19 positivity rate.  “We will have interruptons,” he said, “I want students to be at the ready when we have them.”  Null is also pushing attendance. He said students, whether online learners or face-to-face learners, will need to attend 90% of the school year and learn under a full state curriculum. view article arw

After looking through six webpages of Spring ISD’s plans for the 2020-21 school year, Melissa Ruth felt conflicted. Her 10th- and 12th-grade daughters want to return to school, but the recent surge in COVID-19 cases makes her worry they could bring the virus home. She wants her eldest to enjoy her senior year but is concerned the changes mean little will be familiar. view article arw

The district’s board of trustees met during a June 16 meeting to discuss possible options for reopening in August. Superintendent Dr. Ann Dixon said she does not plan to make changes to the traditional calendar that was already approved.  A survey was sent out to parents to seek input on the school year. view article arw

Austin ISD and the TEA announced parents will have a choice of whether to put their students in classrooms. Teachers said they deserve to choose, as well.  On Monday, Austin ISD superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz said families have a choice of taking classes 100% online or 100% in-school, but teachers said it doesn't seem like they have a choice.   "We can't talk about student safety unless you're talking about educators' safety," said Noel Candelaria, the Texas State Teachers Association president. "Teachers and educators right now are just fearful of all the unknowns at this moment."  view article arw

Thursday, the Little Elm ISD administration team will be presenting a proposed new calendar to the school board during a Special School Board Meeting.  The district staff is asking to delay the start of school from Wednesday, Aug. 12 to Tuesday, Aug. 25. Major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Spring Break would remain the same.  “The change in the start date gives us more time to prepare as we face the ever-changing challenges related to COVID-19 and its impact state-wide,” the district stated. view article arw

DISTRICT PROVIDES MORE DIRECTION FOR STARTING SCHOOL ON AUG. 13  - From Leander ISD on July 6: Leander ISD shared more details about our plans to start the school year on Aug. 13 in messages for teachers and staff as well as students’ families. You can click here to read the message to teachers and staff and here for the message to all LISD families (Spanish is here).   After considering a 50/50 blended learning model where students in middle and high schools would attend school on some days and learn remotely at home on other days, we decided to narrow the focus of student choices to either a 100% Virtual Empowered Learning program or a 100% in-person program. This choice did not come easily as we considered the recent rules surrounding school funding from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), as well as the logistics school buildings and staff, including the workload for our teachers.  view article arw

Alief Independent School District Superintendent HD Chambers says school officials have decided to begin the school year online. Chambers said he doesn’t want any student to lose out on their education because of the pandemic but the thought of how to bring students and teachers back to the classroom safely keeps him up at night. view article arw

As Brazos ISD tries to plan for 2020-21 school year, parents are being asked to complete a short survey regarding access to transportation, technology, and more. Here’s what to know for the upcoming school year: view article arw

Two projects from Tomball ISD's 2017 bond referendum are slated to wrap up in August, with additional facilities complete by summer 2021, according to a July 1 release from Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc., the firm serving as program manager for TISD's bond referendum. Voters approved the $275 million bond referendum in November 2017 to accommodate projected enrollment growth totaling 19,500 students enrolled by 2021, according to the release. Grand Oaks Elementary School—the district's newest elementary, located at Cypress-Rosehill Road and Grand Parkway—is scheduled to open in August as part of the Elmer and Dorothy Beckendorf Educational Complex. Grand Oaks will accommodate 900 students in grades K-4 within its 112,000-square-foot space, according to the release. view article arw

Wylie Superintendent, Joey Light sets date for first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year.  ABILENE, Texas — According to a newsletter sent out to parents of the Wylie Independent School District, the first day of school will be August 19.  Joey Light, Superintendent for the district says families will be able to choose whether their students will attend classes in person or continue their online learning education. view article arw

Marshall ISD on Monday announced it will be providing a large portion of the school supply items on the lists for its pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students for the upcoming 2020-21 school year set to start Aug. 13.  Last summer, the district hosted its “Pack the Bus” school supply drive which loaded up bus No. 44 with donated supplies and provided all of the needed school supply list items free for every elementary school student across the campus.  The district said in a statement, it wanted to continue in that vein and help parents and caregivers as much as possible this year due to the financial struggle caused during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. view article arw

Huntington ISD Superintendent David Flowers released a letter to parents announcing the plans to present an amended 2020-21 calendar to the school board that pushes the school start date to Aug. 20, one week later than intended.  "There has been pressure from TEA (Texas Education Agency) to start school earlier; however, with the instructional method 'expectations' that will be required for remote learning, I believe there is a case to be made to start school later," Flowers said. "Teachers are the No. 1 most important factor to student academic success. HISD understands the need to give our teachers the time for organization, training and support for the remote learning requirements." view article arw

The Northside Independent School District announced in a letter to parents that the district plans to offer both in-class and distance learning options during the upcoming school year. In a letter posted on the district's website on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods states, "Some of you will feel comfortable sending your children back to school buildings while others will prefer to continue distance learning. We will offer both of those options for the 2020-2021 school year." view article arw

Spring ISD officials will host virtual town hall meetings in mid-July to allow parents and guardians to learn more about their students' options for returning to schools this fall, the district announced in a news release July 7. view article arw

Sealy ISD is providing both face-to-face and remote learning opportunities for students this upcoming school year. Regardless of the teaching method selected by parents, the district is responsible for providing students with 75,600 minutes of instruction. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — With just six weeks until the start of the Austin ISD school year, some parents are growing uneasy about students possibly returning to campus.  "I think it's going to be a very difficult battle to keep the kids and the teachers safe if the numbers look like they look at the moment," said Tom Thorton, a parent of two students in the district.  "My 7th grader said he would feel much safer if they are in online classes this fall," said Susan Mack. view article arw

Local officials from across Texas are calling for a return to “stay home, work safe” policies to stop the spread of COVID-19. In parts of Texas, positive test counts set new records again this week, so several local officials, including Interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbot. They requested tighter restrictions on things like business occupancy and face mask mandates.  Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt is a special assistant to Biscoe and helped put together the letter.  view article arw

As the upcoming school year draws closer, some questions remain for Pflugerville ISD staff and students as officials work to iron out details for state-approved instruction guidelines.  During a June 29 special meeting, the PfISD board of trustees voted to allow district officials to purchase a Learning Management System, or LMS, which they said will help teachers and students bridge the gap between online learning and in-person instruction.  Trustees voted to authorize Superintendent Doug Killian to make the purchase to help prepare the district for a hybrid learning environment in the fall. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While Texas school districts wait for guidance from Texas Education Agency (TEA), documents on its website reveal decisions for the 2020-21 school year could be left up to each district.  Jennifer Swallen is a mother of two Houston ISD students. Swallen said she is hopeful that her children will return to in-person learning in the fall, but understands why other parents may not feel the same way. view article arw

A coalition of education groups, chambers and others have written a letter to top state officials asking them for support — financial and otherwise — as schools reopen this fall. Addressed to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Education Commissioner Mike Morath, Texas Higher Education Commissioner Harrison Keller and lawmakers, the letter asks that they create or use an existing statewide task force to focus on key challenges posed by COVID-19 to public education. view article arw

ALLAS — As districts around North Texas plan for schools to reopen in August, parents will have to decide whether to send their child back to campus or try to make at-home learning work.  And the answers from parents right now vary widely as cases and hospitalizations from the novel coronavirus continue to increase in Texas. view article arw

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Lufkin ISD is remaining optimistic about the fall football season but is also preparing for changes inside Abe Martin Stadium.  “High school football is going to look quite different this year from the effects of the pandemic,” an email to season ticket holders stated. “We are looking at ways to ensure the safety of our students, staff, families and community as a whole. Due to capacity regulations, social distancing, and decisions still to be determined by UIL, your tickets are guaranteed to not be the same as in years past. We anticipate having to block off areas for seating and social distancing. That will mean that you will not be able to sit in the section and seats you are accustomed to having. However, what we can guarantee is that next year (Fall 2021) your season tickets will remain intact.” view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — Some parents are concerned about El Paso Independent School District’s reopening guidelines.  “I can’t comfortably put my children in an environment like that where I cant fully tell them that they are safe,” Nancy Hollebeke said. She’s been nervously waiting for EPISD to release guidelines on bringing back kids to school – Monday they did.  “I looked at all the options again. I do like they have the you choose the virtual and then you can go back in the fall,” Hollebeke said. view article arw