Local state board of education member shares concerns over new TEA guidelines

2 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Saturday, August 07 2021 Aug 7, 2021 August 07, 2021 4:16 PM August 07, 2021 in News - Local

The Texas Education Agency released new COVID-related guidelines for schools, and one official with the Texas Board of Education said he's not on board with the recommendations.

These guidelines state that schools are required to notify local health departments if a student tests positive for COVID-19.

Schools are also required to submit a report to the Texas Department of State Health Services if any student, employee, or visitor tests positive for COVID-19.

However, the document also says that because of lower transmission rates among children compared to adults, schools are not required to contact trace.   

That recommendation is based on 2020-2021 data collected before the emergence of the Delta variant.

Texas Board of Education Member Ruben Cortez says he's not happy about the guidelines, and he’s worried about students.

"There's a lot of concern, there's a lot of anxiety even from our school officials in the state of Texas, down here in the Valley, across the coastal bend," Cortez said. 

Cortez believes that the TEA released these guidelines now since they have received so much push back from school districts about Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools.

"They're being released now because they've received so many petitions, so many letters and they're basically putting their foot down and saying no,” Cortez said. 

The guidelines also say that schools are encouraged but not required to notify parents if their child was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.  It also allows for up to 20 days of online learning for any student who tests positive or is exposed to COVID.

"If they're following the guidelines as they're presented and not adding additional measures, then it can lead to some scary situations for families all across the state of Texas," Cortez said.

Cortez says that in the coming days he will be speaking to superintendents in the Valley to get their thoughts and concerns on the issue to see what else he can do.

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