COVID-19 NEWS
TCTA urges state to enact, enforce COVID-19 guidelines

Throughout the pandemic, TCTA has been working with members to address their concerns. After hearing that some districts are ignoring their own rules, as well as state and federal guidance, we again urged Gov. Greg Abbott and Commissioner Mike Morath to enact and enforce clear state guidelines based on case data and recommendations from health experts.

TEA expanding rapid testing in schools
A couple of weeks ago, we let you know about eight school systems that are part of a TEA pilot program for rapid COVID-19 testing. Participating are Fabens, Granger, Harlingen, Lampasas, Longview and Ysleta school districts, and the Bob Hope School in Port Arthur and Grace Community School in Tyler.
 
TEA is now expanding the effort, allowing other districts to opt into the program. Staff and students (with parental consent) can get free tests with results in about 15 minutes. Participating school systems will also receive a monthly supply of PPE, such as test kits, N95 masks, face shields, surgical masks, gloves and gowns. Click here to read more about the requirements for the program.

El Paso under curfew to help contain COVID
Schools in El Paso have extended virtual learning as the region deals with a spike in cases. The city is under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. as officials work to get the virus under control, but at least one area district plans to keep playing football. Lubbock and other parts of West Texas are also reporting a spike in cases. The state continues to update its COVID-19 dashboard for school districts every Thursday. Schools across the state continue temporary closures, including Seven Lakes High School in Katy ISD, which has 47 active cases.

Though virtual learning remains necessary in some places, more districts are asking students with failing grades to resume in-person instruction. Leander ISD is hoping to improve learning for remote students by dismissing in-person students early on Wednesdays to give teachers time to collaborate and plan engaging activities. Cy-Fair ISD also approved planning days for teachers.
Volunteers needed for COVID-19 antibody study

Texas CARES is providing three free COVID-19 antibody tests over a 6-month period to educators, students (ages 5-17) and other volunteers. Texas CARES is offered by the UTHealth School of Public Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Participants will help Texas CARES understand how COVID-19 antibodies work in our community.
The antibody tests are administered free of charge, and participants will receive their results after each sample is taken. Test results will be kept confidential, protected by HIPAA regulations just like health records. To learn more and enroll, click here to complete the consent form and short survey.

Check out TCTA's COVID-19 FAQs

We continue to update our COVID-19 FAQs on 2020-21 Education Issues to help members understand guidance from federal and state officials. While this information is not legal advice, we hope it helps answer questions you may have about COVID-19's impact on schools. Members who have specific concerns or questions should call the Legal Department at 888-879-8282 to speak with a staff attorney.
TCTA efforts led to minimum salary schedule increase

In a news conference this week, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen and other lawmakers touted the impact of House Bill 3 on teacher salaries as TEA released a report to the Texas Legislature. A significant portion of increased education funding authorized by state legislators in 2019 went to teacher paychecks due to a TCTA-initiated provision in 2011 to tie the state minimum salary schedule to increases in the basic allotment. Click here to find links to the report for your district.
OTHER NEWS
Early voting ends today ahead of Election Day on Tuesday

More than half of registered Texans have cast ballots in early voting for the Nov. 3 general election. If you haven't been to the polls yet, early voting ends today, Oct. 30. On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. across the state. Check out TexasTeachersVote.org for more about candidates for the Texas House and Senate, including voting records on education issues and survey responses, and go to Vote411.org to see what's on the ballot where you live. Make sure your voice is heard, go vote!
Course reviews positive behavior interventions

The Texas Behavior Support Initiative is state-level training that provides foundational knowledge for the use of positive behavior interventions and supports for all students, including students with disabilities. TBSI meets legislative requirements related to procedures for the use of restraint and time-out and provides a framework for sharing a wide range of foundational-level behavior strategies and prevention-based schoolwide, classroom, and individual interventions.

The TBSI course has been reformatted and transferred from the Region 4 website to a Canvas course hosted by Tiered Interventions Using Evidence-Based Research. Please note, while the course is open and active, there will be periodic updates that may affect access. Click here to access the course.
12th grade reading scores drop, no change in math

Nationwide, average scores in 12th grade reading dropped 2 points in 2019 compared to 2015 on the Nation's Report Card, according to results released this week. Average math scores showed no statistical change on the exam, which is given to a random sampling of students by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But scores for the nation's lowest-performing students fell on both exams.

In reading, scores for 12th graders in the 10th percentile dropped 4 points; students in the 25th percentile saw scores decline 3 points, with lower scores for male students. In math, scores for students in the 10th and 25th percentiles both dropped 3 points. Click here to review the Nation's Report Card.
Encourage your colleagues to join TCTA with Take 2/Make $25!

Encourage your colleagues to join TCTA and you could earn $25 for every two eligible Active-level members you recruit through Dec. 31 with our Take 2/Make $25 program. Click here for details. If you need printed brochures, pens or other materials to share on campus, please call the Membership Department at 888-879-8282 or email membership@tcta.org.
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CONTENT PUBLISHED OCTOBER 30, 2020 | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
TEXAS CLASSROOM TEACHERS ASSOCIATION
PO BOX 1489 AUSTIN, TX 78767 | 888-879-8282 | TCTA.ORG