The Texas Education Agency issued guidelines Thursday relaxing some of the requirements for in-person learning in Texas after some schools asked about going virtual out of fear of COVID-19 spread.
The new guidelines allow schools to transition to virtual learning if there are staffing shortages which make teaching difficult. The change also lets schools stay out virtual for up to 14 days if they have confirmed cases in the building. That's a change from the previous guidance of five days.
Another change impacts whether public schools can go virtual the week AFTER Thanksgiving like many private schools have, anticipating COVID-19 spread over the holiday.
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That change allows a school to go virtual for any reason not listed, however they only get credit for half days. For example, if the school goes virtual for an uncovered reason for 10 days, they only get credit for five, and will have to make up the extra five days later in the year.
Friday Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Arlington ISD, Keller ISD, Eagle-Mountain Saginaw ISD, Crowley ISD, Duncanville ISD, and Frisco ISD told us they had no plans to go virtual after Thanksgiving.
"We'll shut down if there's a problem, clean it, and open it back up," said Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas ISD. "A lot of superintendents don't agree with me but I know what I saw and I think that's whats best for Dallas."
Hinojosa was referring to strict safety protocols he said he observed during unannounced visits to various schools in the district this week.
"If you asked me this question a week ago, I would have said yeah we need to think about shutting down for the holidays. I went to three schools this week what I saw was pretty amazing," he added.