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Texas Education Agency requiring face masks, health screenings for upcoming school year

The Texas Education Agency released new comprehensive guidelines Tuesday outlining parameters to follow for a safe return to on-campus instruction this fall.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s statement responds to many questions previously left unanswered about the upcoming school year.

“Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff,” he said.

“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.”

Starting in August, certain health procedures are mandated for every school in the state including all students, staff and visitors coming to campus to be screened before being allowed on campus.

Consistent with Abbott’s most recent executive order, and assuming that order is still in place, masks will be required while in school buildings, with certain exceptions previously noted.

Schools will also be required to follow any forthcoming executive orders issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Morath’s statement also includes addressing on-campus learning and remote instruction.

  • Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day.
  • In addition, all parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their children, initially, or at any point as the year progresses. Parents who choose remote instruction for their students may be asked to commit to remote instruction for a full grading period (e.g. 6 or 9 weeks), but will not have to make that commitment more than two weeks in advance, so they can make a decision based on the latest public health information.

Districts have the option to establish a phased-in return to on-campus instruction for up to the first three weeks of the school year, to ensure all appropriate health and safety procedures are fully in place.

The Texas Education Agency will provide all personal protective equipment supplies to school systems at no cost.

The agency will also provide free online, TEKS-aligned learning tools to deliver remote instruction, teach training and will reimburse for extra COVID-19 related expenses incurred during the 2019-2020 school year.

For more information, visit tea.texas.gov/coronavirus