If you’re confused about how and when schools can open for the upcoming school year, you’re not alone. Guidance from the state has been inconsistent throughout this summer, and it can be hard to keep up. Here’s where things stand — as of today (July 30, 2020):

  • Districts can provide in-person instruction at any time, unless they are under a state shutdown order specifically prohibiting in-person instruction.
  • Districts can delay their actual start date, not just the beginning of in-person instruction.
  • Regardless of the start date, a district can choose to teach remote-only, at some or all campuses, for up to the first four weeks of the school year. This is considered a “transition period”.
    • Exceptions must be made for students who don’t have access to the necessary technology/Internet access – the district must provide in-person instruction for such students.
    • Students with access, but whose parents want in-person instruction, do not have to be accommodated during this period.
  • If a district would like to continue providing remote-only instruction after the first four-week period, the school board must approve a waiver request for up to four more weeks of transitional remote instruction. TEA must approve the waiver.
    • Students without access to the required technology must still be taught in person.
  • Districts can continue providing remote instruction for some students outside of the transition period of up to the first eight weeks of school, but must also provide in-person instruction for any student whose parents so choose.
    • There is an exception for periods in which a school is shut down due to a confirmed COVID case. Such a period cannot exceed five days.
    • Even beyond this 5-day exception, schools will be funded for providing remote-only instruction any day a school building is closed as part of a legally authorized closure order (including by a county or other local health authority. But this is not the case if a local health authority orders a shutdown for preventative purposes, as several have done for the beginning of this school year. Due to the recent guidance provided by Attorney General Ken Paxton, TEA has said it will not fund remote-only instruction outside of the authorized transition period for schools under a local closure order that is not based on confirmed cases in the schools.