The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released updated guidance for returning to school for the 2020-
2021 school year. The information is intended to support school systems in planning for the 2020- 2021 school year and is effective immediately. TEA notes that changes in the current public health situation over the course of the summer may necessitate changes in the guidance.
According to TEA, daily on-
campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day. Parents will have the option to choose remote learning initially or at any point as the year progresses. Parents who choose remote instruction may be asked to commit to remote instruction for a full grading period, 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. Further, 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.
Specific transportation recommendations are as follows:
- School systems should consider requiring students and staff to use hand sanitizer upon boarding the bus.
- When possible, schools should open windows to allow outside air to circulate in the bus.
- School systems should encourage families to drop students off, carpool, or walk with their student to school to reduce possible virus exposure on buses.
- Buses should be thoroughly cleaned after each bus trip, focusing on high-
touch services such as bus seats, steering wheels, knobs, and door handles. During cleaning, open windows to allow for additional ventilation and air flow.
The guidance also shares that schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks, and school systems may require the use of masks or face shields for adults or students for whom it is developmentally appropriate. The TEA states that masks include non-
medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full face- shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth.
I will continue to keep you posed as more information becomes available. I have attached the link to the referenced guidance for your review, and I encourage you to read the entire document. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEA Funding Update -
May 21, 2020
Today the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced further guidance and clarification on the 2019-
2020 Transportation Allotment. Briefly, the total days reported in the transportation module would be from the beginning of the school year to the last day of the district being physically open and delivering students. Mileage driven for COVID- 19 related services should be included in the Transportation Operations Report but not the Transportation Route Services Report. The entire FAQ for school finance and funding provided by TEA can be accessed here: https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid/general_state_funding_faqs_5.7.pdf
Below is the information provided by TEA:
How will my 2019-
2020 Transportation Allotment be affected by COVID- 19 related school closures? NEW MAY 21, 2020
2020 Transportation Allotment will reflect actual days the district was physically open and delivering instruction to students. Data submitted via the FSP System related to generating the transportation allotment should only reflect the actual days of operation and mileage driven up until the closure. (i.e. if the district closed beginning March 16, 2020, then the total days reported in the transportation module would be from the beginning of the school year through March 13, 2020). Mileage driven for COVID- 19 related services should be included in the Transportation Operations Report, but not the Transportation Route Services Report.
While this would result in a reduction in the transportation allotment, expenditure data shows that this reduction can be absorbed through the reduction of non-
salary expenditures associated with the bus route stoppage coinciding with school closures, as the transportation allotment covered 25% of total program costs, and salary- related expenditures in the transportation program make up more than 60% of transportation expenditures.
How will my 2020-
2021 Old Law Transportation Allotment in the Formula Transition Grant calculation be affected by COVID- 19 related school closures ? NEW MAY 21, 2020
Because the submission of fewer miles on the Route Services report due to school closures during the 2019-
2020 school year would normally increase linear density rates for the 2020- 2021 school year (old law transportation formulas), TEA will be adjusting the formula to account for the reduction in miles and days buses were driven in order to result in more accurate linear density rates. The division of state funding will be putting out guidance this summer once transportation data has been submitted and the adjustment has been determined.
Academic Calendar Considerations
TEA has discussed the concept of adjusting the 2020-
2021 academic calendar to address the continuing impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic on student instruction and achievement. According to TEA, initial research indicates that students could return to school nearly a full year behind what normally occurs after a summer break. In preparation to mitigate this concern, TEA has provided guidance on modifying the school instructional calendar.
The following link provides the TEA guidance on changing the school start date and adopting a modified instructional calendar. TEA has also provided a PPT that provides initial guidance on adjusting school calendars in response to COVID-