The start of the 2020-2021 school year is going to be difficult because of COVID-19. In spite of all the planning and expenditures for safety measures that Texas school districts have undergone with the help of the state, there are cases of COVID-19 in many communties, and schools and students may have to shift between remote and on-campus instruction at various times during the school year.
The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) respectfully asks for the following supports from state leaders so that school leaders can help make the 2020-2021 school year as safe and educationally productive as possible:
- Please stop attempting to micromanage every community. The changing guidelines and requirements throughout the summer have been confusing, excessively complicated, and frustrating. The non-binding “guidelines” from the attorney general have only muddied the waters and created more confusion. We believe schools should have the authority to work with local health officials to determine when it is safe for schools to be open for in-person instruction without the threat of funding cuts by the state.
- We need certainty that public schools will be fully funded all school year — not just for the first 12 weeks — whether they are providing in-person, hybrid or remote learning. It has taken years to recover from the 2011 funding cuts, and our schools and communities do not need to repeat that experience, especially in a time when so much is expected of our schools.
- Let school leaders make decisions based on reliable and objective information, including the best available health information. Conditions will vary widely throughout the state, and school leaders want to open schools to the fullest extent possible.
Although educators feel anticipation, excitement and hope about beginning the new school year, they also feel anxious and uncertain, just like other Texans. Educators are parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, just like everyone else.
We all need to work together in these challenging times. Our local communities, school boards and educators need clear and consistent information from the state, and they also need your trust that they will make the right decisions at the local level to manage schools — without the fear of funding loss, which would greatly harm Texas students, teachers and entire communities.