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Family says new TEA rules may be best for everyone

The Texas Education Agency announced new rules Friday that would allow schools teach online only for up to 8 weeks. A local family says that may be the best option.

CENTRAL, Texas — Donna Dolly's granddaughter is 6-years-old and ready to back to class at Midway ISD. The family is struggling to decide if they should send her to class or opt for remote learning. There are plenty of factors involved. 

"We'd rather her be in school because of the socialization," Dolly said. "The online option is better then having her mom in the hospital with COVID-19."

Dolly said the girls mother has a heart valve defect and the COVID-19 virus could be a serous danger to her. Dolly had helped home school the girl before but didn't know if it would be good to keep her cooped up at home. They haven't made a decision yet. 

Meanwhile, Midway ISD parents are being asked to choose their learning delivery option between July 27 and Aug. 3. 

Dolly also worried about the teachers and support staff that could be exposed to the virus as the school year starts up. As of last Friday, however, there is now a new option for schools due to a change in rules from the Texas Education Agency. 

"Today we've announced that every school that needs it can adopt a four-week back to school transition window where instruction can be fully virtual if need be," TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said Friday in a pre-recorded video. "This should give us time to work collectively to flatten the curve on this epidemic. At the same time, if that is insufficient time, local school boards have the ability to adopt an additional four-week transition window should that be necessary."

The TEA updated the rules online here

Multiple school districts released their plans for the fall last week, but have not had the opportunity to to make the new rules part of the plan as of yet. In a letter to parents, Midway ISD said its Safe Start Task Force plan will be presented to the school board July 21 and will be published online the next morning, pending changes from the board meeting. 

Dolly said she knows it must be frustrating for district to constantly revise their plans with the changing rules, but this new option might be what's best for everyone. 

"I feel bad for the school districts because they get a plan in place and they have to crumble it up and do another one because it's changed so many times. That's why I think it's just easier to wait the first 6 or 8 weeks and let things settle down," Dolly said.

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