Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

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Friday, November 20, 2020
Principals forced to fill-in as lack of substitute teachers grows
In some districts, the school principal was forced to fill in as a lack of substitute teachers grows.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if "a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak," according to new guidelines released Nov. 19 by the Texas Education Agency.

The agency's list of frequently asked questions regarding attendance and enrollment in 2020-21 was updated this week to clarify school administrators can offer families exclusively remote instruction for up to 14 days given the scenario that too many campus educators are affected by COVID-19 for the school to be staffed adequately.

READ MORE: Principals forced to fill-in as lack of substitute teachers grows

"In such cases, a 14-day period would allow for enough time for the virus incubation period to be completed," TEA officials stated in the guidance. "The campus access restriction and resulting offering of remote instruction must be limited to the specific campus being impacted."

Officials said campuses could instate a hybrid instructional model or be fully remote if administrators elect to restrict on-campus access during this scenario. However, schools are still required to remain open for on-campus instruction for students who do not have internet access or adequate devices at home.

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Campuses using this option should notify the TEA by using the "Request to Restrict Student Access to On-Campus Instruction Due to Confirmed Instructional Staff Cases of COVID-19 on Campus" form. Visit TEA's website for more information.