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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 offers from TASA Corporate Partners, our list of resources offered by other organizations, and COVID-19 Online Events & Webinars.

Thursday: TASA Live Virtual Event for Superintendents TASA invites ALL Texas superintendents (or one leadership representative from each district designated by the superintendent) to a free TASA Live Virtual Event 4 p.m., Thursday, April 2. Learn more: https://tasanet.org/event/tasa-live-virtual-event-for-superintendents/

Governor’s Office

On Tuesday, March 31, at 2 p.m., Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference on the state’s continued response to COVID-19 today. Joined by Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, the governor extended the temporary closure of Texas schools to in-person classroom attendance until May 4, “unless otherwise extended.” He also issued an executive order implementing essential services and activities protocols for the entire state. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The governor’s executive order renews and amends his previous order that enforced federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. Today’s executive order follows the decision by the president and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance social distancing guidelines and extend the deadline for these guidelines to April 30. The Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) will maintain a list of essential services specified in the order. Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of TDEM. Read more and link to the executive order.

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.

From 9 to 10 a.m. daily, March 30-April 3, TEA will host webinars on phases 0-4 of instructional continuity planning that superintendents can share with staff as appropriate. The agency will email Zoom links to superintendents for the webinars, which will be recorded for watching later. Watch March 30 webinar. Watch March 31 webinar. Also, please note that Hawkins ISD has shared instructional continuity resources for rural districts in particular.

On March 20, TEA, in partnership with the Office of the Governor and Texas Department of Agriculture, launched the TXSchools.gov MealFinder Map. It is designed to help parents and students easily find school meals during the disruption to schools caused by COVID-19. Texas parents can now visit the TXSchools.gov MealFinder Map to find locations near them where local school systems are offering free school meals for pick-up while school buildings are closed because of COVID-19. A TEA letter to administrators dated March 18 notified administrators that the agency is asking LEAs to complete an application through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website to be included in the map, which will be updated continually as more meal sites are added across Texas. Districts are also asked to share information about the MealFinder within their communities and may use these sample social media posts.

On the TEA COVID-19 webpage, you will find agency correspondence and resources related to COVID-19, sorted by category. The latest postings include:

Summaries of Commissioner’s Calls with Superintendents

Notes from the March 31 Call
  • Sinton ISD Superintendent Dr. Clint Jones thanked the ESCs and fellow superintendents for their contributions during this time of remote instruction. He noted that Sinton ISD is part of the Math Innovation Zone grant program and shared Sinton ISD’s 5th Grade Remote Learning Site. This link is also found in the Phase 2 section of TEA’s Instructional Continuity webpage.
  • The commissioner said he would appreciate it if superintendents would share the basic public health measures on the Stay-Well-Texas webpage so that consistent messaging is going out each day (messages are in Word format so districts can personalize as needed). Message #1 (posted now) is for social media, parents, and district staff. The commissioner would like districts to share Message #1, Wednesday, April 1.

Latest Letters to Administrators and Other Important Documents

See the TEA COVID-19 webpage for more.

Education Service Centers

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.

State Board of Education

Arrangements are being made for the State Board of Education (SBOE) to conduct its April meeting virtually. The SBOE is expected to limit its agenda to those items that require immediate action. Members of the public will have access and a means to participate in this meeting, and details will be posted as soon as they are available. As a result of COVID-19, health and PE work group meetings were delayed. Consequently, the public hearings and discussion items related to the review and revision of health education and physical education TEKS will be postponed until May to allow sufficient time for work groups to complete their charges. Details regarding this meeting will also be posted as soon as they are available.

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.

Centers for Disease Control

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.

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.

U.S. Department of Education

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

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.

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 University Interscholastic League (UIL) has extended its suspension of all UIL sanctioned activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas. All contests, practices, rehearsals, and workouts will remain suspended until further notice. At this time, the earliest games and contests may resume is Monday, May 4. Read more.

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

Cancellations/Postponements/Changes

Note from TASA on TASA Events and COVID-19

Our hearts go out to all TASA members as you deal with increasing concerns over the coronavirus COVID-19. Thank you for the work you are doing in your schools and communities related to this serious situation. TASA is representing you and collaborating on a daily basis with TEA and other state agencies, and we will continue to share any information we receive. TASA staff is also reviewing every event that we offer, especially those that will be held during the next few months. In some cases, we will be able to substitute virtual meetings and events for in-person experiences; however, we may have to postpone or cancel some events. As plans change, TASA will contact affected districts directly with as much advance notice as possible regarding specific events. Please let us know if we can help you in any way.

Canceled: April 1-3 CMSi Curriculum Workshops

The April 1-3 Curriculum Writing Workshop that were to be held at TASA Headquarters in Austin have been canceled. Registrants have been contacted with more information.

Postponed: March 31 UNT Safety and Security in Our Schools Conference

The University of North Texas College of Education has postponed the Educational Leadership Conference previously scheduled for March 31 in Denton to November 11.

Changed to Online: March 31-April 1 Session of the Academy for Transformational Leadership

Session 4 of the Academy for Transformational Leadership, on which TASA partners with the Schlechty Center to facilitate, will be held virtually. Registrants were sent an email with details, including a link to a meeting change acknowledgement form. Those who are registered to attend Session 4 are asked to please complete and submit the online form.

Changed to Online: April Sessions of Assistant Principal Leadership Academy (APL)

Session 5 of the Assistant Principal Leadership (APL) Academy, on which TASA partnered with N2 Learning this school year, will be held virtually. The following cohorts will no longer meet in-person on the listed dates; rather, they will participate in an online learning experience. Details have been emailed to registered participants of the: Dallas-area Cohort (April 2); Houston-area Cohort (April 7); Austin/San Antonio-area Cohort (April 15); Lubbock-area Cohort (April 15); Corpus Christi/Victoria-area Cohort (April 23). N2 Learning expects to hold Session 6, scheduled for June, in person as planned.

Postponed: April 4 National ACT Test Date

ACT has rescheduled the April 4 national ACT test date to June 13. Read more.

Canceled: April 15-16 Texas Public Accountability Consortium Meeting

TASA has postponed the Texas Public Accountability Consortium (TPAC) meeting that was scheduled for April 15-16 in Grapevine indefinitely. TPAC members have received email notification, and members will receive further communication once alternative plans for the meeting are made.

Canceled: April 21-23 Level 1 CMAT

The Level 1 Curriculum Management Audit Training (CMAT) planned for April 21-23 at TASA Headquarters in Austin has been canceled. Participants were sent an email with details, including a link to a cancellation acknowledgement form. Registrants are asked to please complete and submit the online form.

Canceled: April 29-30 FRSLN Event #4

The Future-Ready Superintendents Leadership Network (FRSLN) event planned for April 29-30 in San Antonio has been canceled. Participants were sent an email with details, including a link to a cancellation acknowledgement form. FRSLN members who were scheduled to attend Event #4, we ask that you please complete and submit the online form.

Canceled: May 2 SAT Administration

The College Board has canceled the May 2 SAT administration. Registered students will receive refunds. Read more.

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

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