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The following is a compilation of information and resources related to COVID-19 collected from state and federal sources, followed by a list of event changes/postponements/cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This page is updated daily.

Also see our Remote Learning + COVID-19 Resources and Training webpage, which links to:

State Officials & Agencies

Governor’s Office

On July 2, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than 10 and must maintain 6 feet of social distancing from others.

On June 18, Gov. Greg Abbott told legislators during a conference call that Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall but school districts will not be required to mandate students wear masks or test them for COVID-19 symptoms, according to this article in The Texas Tribune.

On May 18, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that school districts may hold summer school as early as June 1 with social distancing and other safety protocols. Download TEA guidance on summer programs.

On May 12, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13 and extended on April 12, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

On May 5, Gov.Greg Abbott announced an Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. The governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas. Read more.

On Apri 27, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the first phase of the State of Texas’ ongoing plan to open Texas. Under Phase I, certain services and activities are allowed to open with limited occupancy, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow. The announcement is accompanied by Texans Helping Texans: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas. This report, available on the strike force website, helps Texans understand phase one by outlining the new protocols, guidance, and recommendations. The report also includes a series of Open Texas Checklists that outline DSHS’ minimum standard health protocols for all Texans.

On April 17, Gov. Greg Abbott issued several executive orders, including one that closes all Texas schools to in-person student attendance for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, as it “would be unsafe to allow students to gather.” He noted that teachers are permitted to visit their classrooms as needed to conduct online instruction, perform administrative tasks, or clean out their classrooms, but should follow social distancing guidelines. Abbott said to expect more information from Commissioner of Education Mike Morath about the closures and about conducting graduation ceremonies. Read more.

Texas Legislature

On May 20, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen sent a letter directing state agencies and institutions of higher education to each submit a plan identifying savings that will reduce respective general and general revenue related appropriations by 5 percent for the 2020-2021 biennium. Current law requirements for the Foundation School Program and school safety are excluded. Read more.

On April 24, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that he has established six Senate working groups to discuss challenges the state will face in the next legislative session as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Serving on the Public Schools and Higher Ed Working Group are: Larry Taylor, Royce West, Eddie Lucio, Jr., Brandon Creighton, Angela Paxton, and Beverly Powell. Read the announcement.

Texas Education Agency

TEA is currently under a mandatory telework policy for agency employees and will not accept visitors. The agency encourages constituents to utilize the HelpDesk system and TEA main line: 512.463.9734. All essential agency services will continue to be provided.

Fall Public Health Guidance for Schools

During his July 7 call with superintendents, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced the posting of comprehensive public health guidelines for students to return to school. (The agency also released this press release about the guidelines.) The public health guidance takes effect immediately.

It contains information on four sets of practices that minimize the likelihood of viral spread, including some that are requirements for all schools and others that are recommendations:

  1. PROVIDE NOTICE: Requirements for parental and public notices
  2. PREVENT: Required practices to prevent the virus from entering the school (Screening protocols are required. Schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks.)
  3. RESPOND: Required practices to respond to a lab-confirmed case in the school
  4. MITIGATE: Recommended and required practices to reduce likely spread inside the school

*Please note that the UIL is planning on sharing its updated guidance to align with this public health guidance on July 8.

Fall Attendance Options

The discussion during Commissioner of Education Mike Morath’s June 23 call with superintendents (view recording of call) focused on guidance that will allow schools to get full funding for remote instruction. The commissioner described three options for fall attendance (two of which are new):

  1. NEW Synchronous Instruction – Requires all participants to be present at the same time, virtually. Examples: Live interactive classes with students and teachers participating in real time, teacher-supported work time on video conference calls, scheduled and timed online tests.
  2. NEW Asynchronous Instruction – Does not require all participants to be virtually present at the same time. Examples: Self-paced online courses with intermittent teacher instruction, pre- assigned work with formative assessments on paper or in LMS, watching pre-recorded videos of instruction with guided support.
  3. Texas Virtual School Network (TXVSN) remains an option.

For more details, see these new and updated documents provided during the July 9 commissioner’s call with superintendents:

SNAP Food Benefits for Eligible Students

All Texas schools are being asked to share information on the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) with eligible families. Through the program, households will receive a one-time benefit of up to $285 per eligible child to buy food during the coronavirus pandemic. The special P-EBT food relief benefit is fully available regardless of the immigration status or citzenship of the school-age children or of their parents or caregivers. Accepting P-EBT benefits does not impact a parent or a child’s immigration status. The “public charge rule” that threatens to hold an immigrant’s use of public benefits against them when applying for residency does not apply to P-EBT benefits. The online application that families must submit was extended through July 31. Get the details. 

TEA’s COVID-19 Webpage

Please note that TEA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Guidance webpage has a new URL, so you will need to update your bookmark or change the link if you have it listed on your district or campus websites: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/health-safety-discipline/covid/coronavirus-covid-19-support-and-guidance. On the TEA COVID-19 webpage, you will find agency correspondence and resources related to COVID-19, sorted by category. The latest postings include:

Correspondence to District Administrators

Optional Beginning-of-Year Assessments for 2020-2021 July 9

Instructional Continuity

Free training for principals on remote instruction

Federal Funding

CARES Act Equitable Services FAQ (PDF) July 9

Remote Instruction Requirements

See the chart for “2020-2021 Planning Support” for these new resources:

Asynchronous Plan Rubric
July 9  

Rubric that reviewers will use to evaluate Asynchronous Plans

Posted
Asynchronous “Look Fors”
July 9

Preliminary guidance on the “look fors” that reviewers will use to evaluate Asynchronous Plans

Posted
Asynchronous Letter of IntentJuly 9  

LEAs should submit this online application to notify the agency of its intent to develop an Asynchronous Plan prior to the first day of asynchronous instruction.  One submission per LEA.  Submitting this online application results in contingent approval of funding for asynchronous remote instruction through the end of the grace period.

Posted

School Calendar Resources

Additional Days School Year FAQ (PDF) July 9

State Funding

General State Funding FAQs (PDF) July 9

See the TEA COVID-19 webpage for more.

Education Service Centers

See ESC COVID-19 Resources by Region

The Region 12 ESC is offering webinars on remote learning topics at noon daily. They are free and open to anyone, including parents and the community. All sessions are conducted via Zoom and are recorded for future viewing.

Texas Secretary of State

On April 2, the Texas Secretary of State emailed the following information: “Gov. Abbott’s March 31, 2020 executive order includes, but is not limited to, the following items. It (1) extends social distancing guidelines through April 30th, (2) defines essential services, and (3) extends school closures across the state through May 4, 2020. If you haven’t already moved your May 2nd election, you must take action to do so immediately! This most recent executive order will prevent you from securing polling places, recruiting election workers, and allowing voters a safe way to exercise their right to vote. If you don’t move your May 2 election, you are subjecting voters to health risks and potential criminal violations. Failure to postpone your election will put your election at severe risk for an election contest. For procedures related to postponing your election, see Advisory 2020-12.”

Texas Health & Human Services

In May 2020, because of school closures from COVID-19, Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits to families with children that have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals. Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) provides eligible families with a one-time payment for each child who previously received free or reduced-price meals. P-EBT works the same way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits do and will help families get the food they need during the current pandemic. P-EBT will be administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas Education Agency. Learn more.

Texas Department of Agriculture

On March 27, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and the Food and Nutrition Division at TDA released important instructions to schools providing meals for children to parents without children present, as outlined in a recent waiver approved by USDA. Schools are now authorized to provide meals to parents for their child – even when the child is not present – provided they have one of the following forms of documentation at the point of meal service: official letter/email from school that shows children as enrolled; individual student report cards; attendance record from parent portal of school website; birth certificate for children not in school; or student ID cards. Each school district is now authorized to provide the meals, but may have different implementation dates and additional federal requirements for their school area.

On March 25, the Texas Department of Agriculture announced that the TDA has received approval on a waiver that allows parents to pick up meals for their children without the children being present and another waiver that grants flexibility to provide meals that may not meet all the requirements, or meal pattern, mandated by federal law. Visit the Square Meals website for more information.

Per a March 25 letter from the Texas Department of Agriculture, the department is partnering with Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to support meal delivery for rural students. The Meals-to-You program will provide no-cost, shelf-stable, easily prepared, kid-friendly meals to eligible students in rural schools that are closed due to COVID-19 for four weeks or longer. Meal delivery will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Districts that wish to participate should meet the following criteria: Be a school food authority in good standing with the TDA; be located in a rural county within Texas; and have announced a school closure lasting four weeks or longer. Districts that meet the criteria may apply online.

The Texas Department of Agriculture has issued information on school meals that is outlined in this letter from Commissioner Sid Miller to superintendents. Additional information can be found in this FAQ document. Also see TDA’s latest FAQs on child nutrition program meal service during the COVID-19 outbreak.

See the TDA’s COVID-19 resource webpage.

Texas Office of the Attorney General

The Texas Attorney General’s Office released clarifying information about the calculation of business days under the Public Information Act and related use of the new temporary suspension process.

Texas School Safety Center

As of April 22, the TxSSC has transitioned to virtual training. Registration is available to register for School Behavioral Threat Assessment and Digital Threat Assessment training. Registration can be accessed through the center’s events webpage.

As we continue to social distance, schools may be looking to explore additional ways to connect with students and families to ensure a holistic approach of engagement and to assess and assist with student needs. The TxSSC has developed a guidance document for schools on How to Stay Connected to Students in a Time of Disconnection that is included in the COVID-19 Resources for Schools on the TxSSC COVID-19 Updates webpage.

Texas Teacher Retirement System

TRS is restricting public access to TRS offices and has moved to remote work for most TRS employees. TRS is not offering in-person scheduled or walk-in counseling appointments at this time. Members with previously scheduled counseling appointments can change their appointment to a remote counseling session by calling 1.800.223.8778. TRS staff is ensuring that annuity checks are issued on time, benefits and health care forms are processed, and investment management functions continue through remote operations. Learn more. The TRS executive director issued this letter (PDF).

University Interscholastic League

The e UIL is planning on sharing its updated guidance to align with the TEA public health guidance on July 8.

On May 19, the University Interscholastic League sent to Texas high school football coaches that said UIL plans to begin limited summer strength and conditioning on June 8. Read more.

On April 17, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) canceled all remaining 2019-2020 spring activities and state championships in response to Gov. Greg Abbott ordering all public schools to remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the current school year. Practices, rehearsals, and workouts remain suspended until further notice. Read more.

Also see our list of offers from TASA Corporate Partners and our list of resources offered by other organizations.

Federal Officials & Agencies

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 webpage includes information and resources for schools and districts.

On April 27, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced she is not recommending Congress pass any additional waiver authority concerning the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), reiterating that learning must continue for all students during the COVID-19 national emergency. Read more.

On April 27, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced more than $300 million in discretionary grant funds will be available for states to use to create adaptable, innovative learning opportunities for K-12 and postsecondary learners in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. The grants will be funded through the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF). Read more.

On April 23, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it is sending more than $13 billion to states and local education agencies to support continued learning for K-12 students whose educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus. Texas is expected to receive approximately $1.285 billion, with roughly $1.157 billion of that going to local districts in proportion to what they received under Title I, Part A. TEA is permitted to keep up to 10% of the total funds. Details on how the money can be spent is not yet known; we expect more information soon. (In response to a question about the CARES Act package for public school districts during the April 23 call with Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, Morath said that he would have more information for district leadership in approximately three weeks.) Learn more.

On April 14, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that nearly $3 billion will quickly be made available to governors to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the coronavirus national emergency. The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is an extraordinarily flexible “emergency block grant” designed to enable governors to decide how best to meet the needs of students, schools (including charter schools and non-public schools), postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations. Read more.

On April 14, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that career and technical education programs can donate or loan personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies purchased with federal funds to public health agencies, private nonprofit hospitals, and other licensed health providers to support the nationwide coronavirus response effort. Read more.

On April 6, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new streamlined process for providing states funding flexibilities to best meet the needs of students and educators during the COVID-19 national emergency. The new flexibilities, authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, allow schools to repurpose existing K-12 education funds for technology infrastructure and teacher training on distance learning, among other flexibilities to move resources to areas of highest need during the national emergency. Read more.

On March 31, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced new flexibilities for career and technical education (CTE) leaders who are required to submit their local CTE plan for FY 2020-2023 under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) by April 15. Read more.

On March 25, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a conference call with leaders of several national K-12 education organizations to answer their questions and to provide an update on what the Department of Education has done so far to support students, parents, and educators during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more.

On March 21, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Rehabilitative Services issued this supplemental fact sheet addressing the risk of COVID-19 in preschool, elementary and secondary schools while serving children with disabilities.

On March 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that students impacted by school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-20 school year. Upon a proper request, the Department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year. Read more.

On March 17, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights released a webinar on ensuring web accessibility for students with disabilities for schools utilizing online learning during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, OCR published a fact sheet for education leaders on how to protect students’ civil rights as school leaders take steps to keep students safe and secure. Read more. 

On March 12, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal partners hosted a conference call with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to discuss the Administration’s response to COVID-19 and to answer their members’ questions about school closures, school meal programs, testing and accountability measures, and grant administration, among other topics. Read more.

On March 12, the U.S. Department of Education issued new resources to assist education leaders in protecting student privacy and ensuring students with disabilities continue to receive services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the event of school closures due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Education Department also released important information for K-12 educators on flexibilities the Department could grant when it comes to the accountability standards required by law under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Read the announcement.

Centers for Disease Control

In May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance for schools when considering opening facilities to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the PDF. The larger 60-page document is available here. School guidance begins on page 45.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have published a webpage with Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs. Available for download on that webpage is a PDF document outlining considerations for school closure as well as cleaning and disinfection recommendations, FAQs for administrators, a checklist for teachers and parents, and tips on talking with children about COVID-19. The CDC as also published new guidance on keeping children healthy while schools are closed.

Internal Revenue Service

On March 30, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Read Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know.

NCAA

The NCAA Eligibility Center has partnered with the NCAA membership to identify adjustments to the initial eligibility certification process in this FAQs PDF document. These changes may not capture all unique scenarios; however, NCAA Customer Service is available to assist with questions Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST at 877.262.1492, and at ncaa.org/contactinternational.

Other States

Education Week’s Coronavirus and Schools: A State-by-State Guide

Also see our Remote Learning + COVID-19 Resources and Training webpage, which links to:

 

Have information or resources to add? Email the details to Amy Francisco at afrancisco@tasanet.org.