Texas Schools Can Stay Closed Through The Fall Semester – Here’s How
For a lot of parents, the idea of sending their kids to school in an classroom setting, or "normal" school as we used to call it, is terrifying. COVID-19 rates are going through the roof in Texas and El Paso and it's making getting a handle on how school should look for kids this fall very difficult.
Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott, parroting what President Trump wants to have happen, said that schools in our state would need to be open for kids in August. He said that schools could start out online for the first three weeks of instruction so they could get their safety plans in place, but then classroom settings had to be made available for families who wanted that or school district could face losing state funding if they were only offering online classroom time.
All that has changed and El Paso is at the forefront of making it happen. When Abbott made the funding threat, El Paso officials said "Nuh uh, dude, we are not going to open our schools until after Labor Day, man." Ok, maybe I took some liberties with that. Other Texas counties followed suit saying they didn't feel that opening the schools in COVID-19 hotspots like Houston and San Antonio was safe.
It looks like the counties banding together worked because now the Texas Education Agency says they won't withhold funding for schools that remain completely online as long as all students in the district are offered distance learning. That would mean that every child needs to have access to a computer and the internet, which El Paso districts were able to make happen for the last few weeks of the spring semester earlier this year.
Will keeping kids home during the fall semester be easy? No, it won't. There are a lot of parents who need their kids to be in school so they can work, so something will have to be done to make sure those kids don't fall through the cracks, but if we don't do this, we could conceivably see children dying from COVID-19.