TEXAS, USA —
This week, the Texas Education Agency released its guidelines for returning back to school.
“From our perspective, they were very vague. They didn’t give very clear direction to school districts,” said Noel Candelaria, president of the Texas State Teachers Association.
The TSTA represents 60,000 educators from around the state. Candelaria said while things should be flexible at certain levels, there are some standards missing in the guidelines.
“We should agree to some common things that need to be in place regardless of where you are in the state to ensure the health and safety of students,” Candelaria said.
He mentioned mask requirements that are enforceable across the board.
Masks are mentioned in the guidelines, the TEA said Governor Abbott's current order should be followed and districts can create their own requirements, but nothing is mentioned in the case the governor's mandate ends.
Candelaria also pointed out class sizes are not mentioned in the guidelines. He said from the vast majority of educators he has heard from, they do not feel safe. Candelaria said they have advocated starting remotely.
“So, that we can still continue to have time to figure this out and make sure that we have all of these plans and details in place from the state and at the local level before we even bring students back into a school,” Candelaria said.
He mentioned many educators do want to go back to school, they just do not think it is safe for everyone to come back together just yet.
“We understand that optimally the best way to teach is in person, but the risk is too high right now with so many unknowns and so many questions still out there lingering,” Candelaria said.
The Texas State Teachers Association released their own set of standards for "safe students, schools and communities". You can find them here.
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