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Central Texas school districts respond to TEA suggestions for 2020-2021 school year

Temple ISD said they will not take the TEA's suggestions, while other districts say they're still reviewing plans.
Credit: Jasmin Caldwell

BELL COUNTY, Texas — There are mixed emotions about the Texas Education Agency's suggested guidelines for the upcoming school year. The TEA said schools are likely to experience disruptions during the next year due to COVID-19.

The TEA rolled out three options for adjustments to the 2020-2021 calendar to help minimize potential disruptions. The guidelines were to add a 30 day extension to the school year, add longer breaks and to have classes year round.

Temple ISD Superintendent Bobby Ott said Temple ISD has no plans to pursue the state's proposed options.

"The last thing we need to do is add another layer of disruption to families by re-engineering an entire school calendar that makes parents have to really think about when they have to be a home,” Ott said.

The TEA said that due to the coronavirus, students could return to class nearly a full year behind what normally occurs. They suggest  elementary students are expected to see a big drop in their math comprehension.

RELATED: TEA provides changes to 2020-21 school calendars, prepares for 'devastating impact' on students

Ott said the district is looking at an extended day model instead of an extended year.

"An extended day just means we're going to keep the students longer that need the support. We will provide transportation and they will have the chance to work with the same teachers," Ott said. "Research shows that working with a teacher a student has a relationship with is better when they are struggling.”

Killeen ISD said they are reviewing guidelines from the TEA but have not finalized any plans just yet. In a statement, Joshua Wucher, Executive Director for Communications at Waco ISD said:

“We are having conversations about plans for the start of next year. It’s too soon to make any decisions, but we are beginning to prepare for in-person instruction for all of our students, a continuation of remote learning for all of our students, and several scenarios in between. We’ll continue to monitor guidance from state and federal officials, consult with local health experts, and track the spread of the virus in our community." 

Ott said plans for Temple ISD are not final, but if the district decides to pursue one of the options provided by the state, they will take next year to explore it and prepare the community.  

Here is a document from the Texas Education Agency detailing the school year suggestions: 

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