Access Education RRISD calls on TEA for more COVID response options

To: Commissioner Mike Morath, Governor Greg Abbott
From: [Your Name]

We demand that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) give Texas schools the resources to combat Covid.

Districts all over the state are enduring the recent unprecedented surge in Covid cases, and declines in student and staff attendance due to Covid infection. Schools are operating under unsafe and unsustainable conditions, and many have been forced to close for several instructional days due to lack of staff.

State funding is allocated to schools based upon Average Daily Attendance, and without waivers on the number of instructional hours required to receive funds, our schools could face huge budgetary shortfalls.

The Texas Education Agency currently offers:
– No missed school day waivers necessary to fund closures due to Covid for the 2022 school year.
– No waivers for schools that decide to switch from on-campus to virtual learning in response to Covid-19 spread on campus during the 2022 school year.
– No waivers for low attendance due to excused Covid-19 related absences for the 2022 school year.

An unprecedented number of absences across several districts all over the state make this policy unsustainable. The TEA is placing our schools in financial peril to force them to remain open as student and teacher absences soar due to Covid.

We hereby petition the TEA to:
1. Issue instructional hour waivers for districts forced to close schools due to staffing and public health concerns related to Covid-19 during the 2022 school year. School boards should be able to work with their local health authorities to make quick decisions to protect their students and communities, and they should be supported by the TEA for taking recommended precautions. ​

2. Issue instructional hour waivers for school districts with low attendance due to absences related to Covid-19, so that those school districts can avoid significant financial consequences of complying with the law and local health authority guidance.

3. Issue hybrid/remote learning waivers for schools that wish to offer remote instruction to protect their students, staff and community.

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