New TEA guidance released for upcoming school year

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

August 11, 2021

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released new guidance for schools Thursday, August 5, as the state’s schoolchildren prepare to return to classes amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Schools will not have to notify parents about COVID-19 cases on campus this year, but they will have to report cases to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Under Governor Greg Abbott’s previous executive order, schools cannot require students or staff to wear masks this year, but they must allow them to wear a mask if they choose to do so.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must stay off campus and can be provided remote instruction, according to the TEA.

Contact tracing is not required this year after a positive case is reported, but the TEA says that if a district is made aware that a student is a close contact, they should notify the student’s parents.

Parents can opt to keep a child who was identified as a close contact off campus for the recommended time period, but it is not required. Vaccinated students will not be considered close contacts.

The TEA also recommended that public school systems consult with their local public health authorities and local legal counsel before making final decisions regarding implementation of the new guidance.

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