DALLAS - North Texas educators are asking Governor Greg Abbott to let them teach remotely for a month-and-a-half to more than two months to start the new school year.
It’s happening as parents are being tasked with the decision of whether or not to send their kids back to school.
In a letter, Fort Worth and Dallas ISD superintendents and board presidents are among others in the state, are requesting that the state allow full online learning for 6 or 9 weeks at the beginning of the semester without losing state funding.
The letters urge Gov. Abbott to set forth a plan for the coming school year that allows for more flexibility at the district level.
Fort Worth ISD Board President Jacinto Ramos Jr. is joining his counterpart at Dallas ISD in sending a letter to Gov. Abbott urging a back-to-school plan with greater flexibility.
“We can't be silent. We have serious concerns and thoughts about what's taking place surrounding this pandemic,” Ramos Jr. said. “To set a floor for average daily attendance for the next year, we need to make sure there's some financial stability to keep our systems moving forward. Number two: we want to allow school districts the flexibility to design instructural systems that meet the needs of our families and staff given local health conditions. Third point is to allow schools to prohibit students from attending school if they have come into contact or exposed to individuals diagnosed with COVID19.”
The letter sent on Monday, very similar to one sent to the governor, was signed by school superintendents of some of the state's largest school districts, including Dallas, Fort Worth and Hurst-Euless Bedford.
HEB ISD Superintendent Steve Chapman is the president of the Texas School Alliance.
In the letter, he and school district leaders tell gov. Abbott: “We encourage Texas to allow school systems to begin the 2020-2021 school year with full online learning for students for a minimum of the first six or nine-week grading without state aid reduction."
Governor Abbott has not responded to the letters but spoke about return-to-school plans during an interview with KETK-TV in Tyler on Monday.
“There is flexibility built into the education platform to ensure that if, on opening day, there is a spread of COVID-19 like there is in certain parts of Texas right now, it will be possible for students to learn in that online distance learning strategy,” Abbott said. “But there will be a way of educating our students for a period of time until we can get them back into the best setting for them, which is into a classroom with a teacher, with fellow students.”
Ramos Jr. says the bottom line is school leaders are seriously concerned about our students, educators and community at large. Both letters ask Gov. Abbott to respond by July 17.