HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas Education Agency wants school districts to consider extending their 2020-2021 school year.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the TEA is recommending three options: move to a year-long model, add 30 days to a traditional 180-day calendar, or spread the school year out with intermittent breaks.
The recommendation comes amid growing uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Houston Federation of Teachers president Zeph Capo said districts across southeast Texas should make these decisions with community engagement.
He said the top concern should be the safety of all students, teachers, and staff.
"I think there is potential to make an 11-month calendar to work," said Capo. "You could still have a longer, traditional summer the way many families are used to while still having some flexibility to add additional weeks in the year that if we had to be out of school, physically, for COVID, then we could make up that time."
Vicky Yip is mom of three HISD students and senior contributor of the Houston Moms Blog. Yip said she wants to see a plan in place before she's comfortable allowing her kids to return to class.
"It's been a big change," she said. "The kids have done well, but my introverted kids are doing better than the extroverted one. My daughter is really missing her friends. I'm nervous. I will admit that I'm not 100 percent comfortable sending them to school."
Local districts are now forced to develop a plan. ABC13 reached out to HISD for comment. In the past, the district said it may start school early this year, but confirmed to Eyewitness News on Tuesday that no final decisions have been made.