Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – (ALLEN) – Following the announcement by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide school districts with greater flexibility for reopening during the 2020-2021 school year, Representative Leach issued the following statement:
"As we continue to respond to this crisis around the clock - working collaboratively with our federal, state and local leaders - directives and decisions of this magnitude must not come from Washington or Austin alone. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to public education - especially in the midst of this pandemic - and today's announcement reveals the state's commitment to entrusting local educators, in conjunction with parents and students, to make the best decisions for our communities."
Prior to this announcement, school districts had the ability to begin the upcoming school year with virtual learning, prior to any in-person learning, for a period not to exceed three weeks in order to avoid any loss in state funding. Today's announcement extends this transition period to a total of four weeks, providing school districts with additional flexibility to reopen based on local input and preference.
Additionally, school districts will have the ability to continue to limit access to on-campus instruction for an additional four weeks, pending a school district's board-approved waiver to TEA. Yesterday, Representative Leach sent a letter to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath (attached), respectfully requesting the agency to extend this transition period another week.
Representative Leach continued: "Texas is a big state - and what may work well in Collin County may not work in other parts of the state. I appreciate Commissioner Morath for listening to the educators, parents and local-decision makers in our community and throughout the state - and I look forward to our continued collaboration as we continue to face these unprecedented challenges brought forth by this pandemic."
In conjunction with today's announcement, the state also revealed financial support for students who are unable to access virtual education, including internet access and digital learning devices. Through a $200 million allocation from the CARES Act, local communities will now have additional resources to meet the needs of students without access to virtual learning platforms.