Where things stand on reopening public schools
If you’re confused about how and when schools can open for the upcoming school year, you’re not alone. Guidance from the state has been inconsistent throughout this summer, and it can be hard to keep up.

Just this week, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued guidance that reversed earlier guidance from TEA on funding schools operating remotely under orders from a local health authority. In response, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath issued a statement clarifying how funding would be handled during the start of the 2020-21 school year. He also announced that TEA would fund a Learning Management System for districts for two years to help bolster remote and classroom instruction.

We made short video about where things stand as July 30, 2020. ( Click here or on the image to view it.) If you'd prefer a written summary, click here.

We also continue to update our COVID-19 FAQs. This week, we added new information about the upcoming school year, including attendance and funding updates based on TEA's latest guidance.

Gov. Greg Abbott also announced that promotional requirements for 2020-21 STAAR tests would be waived for grades 5 and 8. TCTA appreciates the removal of this aspect of the high-stakes STAAR testing, but continues to press state officials to suspend STAAR testing and the use of A-F grading for districts and campuses for the 2020-21 school year.

The back to school turmoil and uncertainty isn't all in Texas. A new survey from Education Week shows more than half of teachers who responded don't want in-person instruction because they fear COVID-19 health risks.
Join TCTA for a COVID-19 Legal Q&A on Zoom!

We know many of you have concerns and questions about the coming school year, and to help, several of TCTA's staff attorneys will be answering some of your questions during a live Zoom webinar at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4. During this 1-hour session, they'll answer as many common COVID-19 questions as they can. If you would like to submit questions in advance, please email them to communications@tcta.org by Aug. 3.

Click here to register for the COVID-19 Legal Q&A and get your link to log in. If you're not able to join us on Tuesday, we will make a recording available.

Have a specific legal question you need answered? Call 888-879-8282.
Teacher seeks hearing after complaint about use of force

A complaint was filed with the State Board for Educator Certification, alleging that a teacher’s certification was subject to sanctions because she had dragged a student across a classroom floor. The teacher denied that she had dragged the student and requested a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. At the hearing, evidence was introduced to show that the incident occurred at a time when the teacher’s first-grade class had been brought in to another teacher’s class to observe a performance rehearsal. A student watching the rehearsal was agitated and began screaming. Click here to read more.
USDE approves TEA's accelerated testers waiver

As part of Texas’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, TEA has been granted a waiver to expand the advanced mathematics exception beyond grade 8 students enrolled in advanced mathematics courses to include all middle school students who are administered a STAAR end-of-course assessment for mathematics, reading/language arts, or science. The USDE’s approval of this waiver request eliminates the need for double testing. Click here to read more.
TRS extends COVID coverage

TRS announced that it is extending $0 COVID-related health care coverage. For both TRS-ActiveCare and TRS-Care participants, TRS health plans will continue to provide $0 COVID-19 diagnostic testing, telemedicine and hospital stays for the remainder of 2020 in addition to current TRS health plan benefits. Click here to read more.
Make sure you're protected. Renew your membership!  

The 2020-21 school year is sure to be unpredictable. Renew your TCTA membership before classes start.
Encourage your colleagues to join TCTA and you could earn $25 for every two new Active-level members you recruit. Our forms are paperless this year, so ask your co-workers to enter your TCTA member number in the Take 2 box.
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