School this year is still up in the air in a lot of ways. Two weeks ago the Texas Education Agency said that schools could open and do classes online for 3 weeks so schools could get into the groove of cleaning, faculty could get used to wearing masks, and give everyone time to figure out how to maneuver school in the time of COVID-19. The TEA also said that if schools wanted to extend the online classroom time to eight weeks before they made in-school class time available, local health authorities would have to sign off on that. On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said it's up to local school districts and not local health authorities to extend online learning or cancel in-school classroom time altogether this upcoming semester. Two EPISD trustees gave two different answers when they were asked if they would vote to extend online learning for more than 3 weeks at the beginning of the semester. As you can see, there is still a lot of discussion back and forth about how the school year will shake out.

There is one thing we know for sure, however. Fifth and eighth graders won't have to worry about the outcome of their STAAR test this year. The test will still be given in the spring but this year students in those grades won't be held back if they don't pass. They will still be given an A - F grade, but they won't get held back if they don't pass. They also won't have to retake the test as in years past. The test will be administered once and be used to show parents and teachers how the students are faring during the coronavirus pandemic.

That's a little bit of pressure off of parents and students during this very odd year.