Without A Clear Plan From The State, Parents, Students And Educators Face ‘Waiting Game’ For The Fall

The Texas Education Agency canceled the announcement of its fall reopening strategy amid what the governor called “a massive outbreak” of the coronavirus.

By Jill AmentJune 25, 2020 12:03 pm, ,

On Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency, or TEA, was supposed to announce its plan for reopening Texas schools in the fall. But that announcement never came.

Eva-Marie Ayala, an education reporter for The Dallas Morning News, told Texas Standard host David Brown on Thursday that there is likely a connection with the TEA cancelling its press conference and the recent spike in coronavirus cases across the state. Gov. Greg Abbott has called it “a massive outbreak.”

A lack of a clear plan leaves parents and educators in limbo, Ayala said.

But without a reopening, some students may fall behind. Early data shows that distance learning impedes progress, especially for some students whose families have lower incomes.

“The anecdotal evidence does not look good,” Ayala said. “It’s going to be a massive effort to try and catch kids up in the coming year.”

In the meantime, superintendents are making various plans to accommodate constantly shifting circumstance because of the pandemic. Dallas Independent School District, for example, has a “three-pronged approach” in which it is planning for either a return to in-classroom instruction; teaching kids completely online; or a hybrid of the two. But ultimately, those plans have to mesh with what the state decides.

“School districts really need to know what the plan and the guidance is from the state because … having classes online is much different than having classes in person,” Ayala said.

It’s also a “waiting game” for parents and students, Ayala said.

“This is a pandemic that we’ve never been in before. … Everyone’s trying to navigate this unknown with as much information as they have.”

Web story by Caroline Covington.

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