Fall 2020: Back to School in West Texas – COVID Reopening Plans

0

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”–John Dewey

As you prepare yourself and your family for the coming school year, we encourage confidence in your choices, patience with the process, and reassurance that resiliency will see us through this unique and evolving year.

The Texas Education Agency has officially released its re-opening guidelines for schools across Texas for the 2020-2021 school year as it relates to the Coronavirus pandemic. Moving forward under these guidelines, school districts, private schools, and public charter schools will decide policies and procedures for their students and families. 

Lubbock Moms has compiled a list of resources for all schools in Region 17 as well as local private schools. In this guide, you will find the following:

  • Summary of TEA Re-Opening Guidelines
  • General Resources from TEA, TAPPS, UIL, and STAAR Testing Information
  • Covid-19 Response Plans presented by each district

Please direct any specific questions to your district as each may have different plans and procedures in place. Again we thank our administrators, teachers, and support staff for the tireless work they have done all summer and for the work they are preparing to do to serve our students and families for the 2020-2021 school year.

TEA School Re-Opening Summary

Learning Options

  • Students are required to attend 90% of the days a course is offered to be awarded credit for the course and/or be promoted to the next grade level. This attendance can be earned through face-to-face instruction or virtual instruction.
  • Students receiving virtual instruction may transition to face-to-face instruction but may be required to wait until the end of a grading period as determined by the district. 

Virus Prevention 

  • All students and staff must self-screen before coming to campus each day (see list of symptoms below). School systems must screen all visitors (and may consider screening students) before granting access to campus. Visitors should be limited to those only essential to school operation.
  • Students and staff must follow the procedures and policies of the district regarding distancing, hygiene, and mask-wearing.
  • Families are encouraged to drop-off, carpool, or walk with their students to school to reduce exposure on the bus. Those riding buses are encouraged to use hand sanitizer when boarding, and open windows when possible to provide better air circulation.

Masks

Schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks (whatever the executive order is at the time).

  • Masks include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full-face shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Schools must require students, teachers, staff, and visitors to wear masks or face shields when entering and exiting facilities and practice areas and when not actively engaging in some UIL activities and extracurricular activities.
  • Schools may, for example, allow students who are actively exercising to remove masks or face shields, as long as they maintain at least six feet of distance from other students, teachers, and staff who are not wearing masks or face shields. However, schools must require students, teachers, and staff to wear masks or face shields as they arrange themselves in positions that will allow them to maintain safe distancing.
  • Current mask order mandates that individuals under the age of 10 are exempt, however, schools are permitted to require the wearing of masks when deemed developmentally appropriate.

Response to Cases in School

Schools must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers, or staff who participate in any on-campus activities.
 
Any individuals who themselves either are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, or experience the symptoms of COVID-19 must stay at home throughout the infection period, and cannot return to campus until:
  • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever
    without the use of fever-reducing medications), AND
  • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of
    breath), AND
  • at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If individuals with lab-confirmed cases have been in a school:

  1. The school must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  2. Schools must close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or staff) until the non-porous surfaces in those areas can be disinfected unless more than 3 days have already passed since that person was on campus.
  3. Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, schools must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participate on any on-campus activities.

Symptoms of Covid-19

  • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature equal to or greater than 100.0 Fahrenheit
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering
  • Significant muscle pain or ache
  • Diarrhea 

General Resources

School District Specific Return-to-Learn Responses

Below you can find the links to the plans for Back-to-School from each district. If plans have not yet been posted, the link will take you to the district’s homepage where you may find new information as it becomes available. If you do not see your school represented, please let us know and we will update our information.