ATPE strongly believes all students and educators have a right to a safe school environment. In a state with more than 1,200 school districts and charter schools ranging dramatically in size, geography, and student/parent demographics, a one-size-fits-all policy rarely provides the flexibility necessary to meet the needs of Texas students or school staff. Certainly, the approach to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 should likely vary between urban and rural settings. However, given the complexity and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, ATPE firmly believes all Texas public school students, parents, and employees deserve to have a clear understanding of the minimal protections and protocols their local school districts will put in place to address their health and safety.
It is equally important for the voices of parents and staff to be systematically included in the development and implementation of a district’s COVID-19 policies and protocols. With that in mind, ATPE urges the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to release COVID-19 reopening guidelines and require that prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year, each school district develop, approve, and disseminate a local policy that prioritizes student and employee safety. The policy must describe the health and safety measures the district will take to mitigate and respond to the threat of COVID-19.
ATPE has put together a list of recommendations for TEA and school districts to consider for the coming 2020-21 school year. Click here to view ATPE’s list of recommendations.