Several bills have been filed to address education-related issues that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • HB 47 by Rep. Terry Canales adds SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 to the current law regarding “presumptive coverage” that currently applies to emergency workers, and adds public school district employees diagnosed with SARS or COVID. The law states that such an employee is presumed to have contracted the illness during the course and scope of employment at the school district.
  • HB 144 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez is titled the COVID-19 Special Education Recovery Act. It provides that for each child who was receiving special education services during the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school year, the district must prepare a supplement with the child’s IEP that indicates whether the child’s evaluation was completed during 2019-20 or 2020-21 and if so, whether the report was completed by the required date. It also must note wither the initial IEP was developed during one of those years and by the required date; whether the provision of special services during one of those years was interrupted, reduced, delayed, suspended or discontinued; and whether compensatory education services are appropriate for the child.
  • HB 1017 by Rep. Diego Bernal requires the commissioner to conduct a study of the impact and feasibility of adopting average daily membership (dependent on both student enrollment and attendance in a manner that offers funding stability) rather than average daily attendance when determining a district’s or charter school’s funding entitlement.
  • HB 1246 by Rep. Gina Hinojosa revises school finance formulas to be based on average enrollment rather than average daily attendance.
  • SB 79 by Sen. Borris Miles requires that a school authority report to the Department of State Health Services and TEA if a child, employee or volunteer provides notice to the authority that they are infected with a communicable disease for which the governor has declared a state of disaster.
  • SB 89 by Sen. Jose Menendez is identical to HB 144, above.
  • SB 238 by Sen. Beverly Powell expands the allowable uses of the school safety allotment to include school health and safety efforts related to pandemic preparation and response, including employing nurses and purchasing diagnostic and protective equipment.
  • SB 239 by Sen. Powell requires the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement a disease prevention information system for dissemination of immunization information during a state of disaster. The agency must ensure that educational materials regarding immunizations, including the most recent schedules and locations, are available to local health authorities to distribute to public school, child-care facilities and community centers.
  • SB 256 by Sen. Menendez provides that an educator employed in 2019-20 or 2020-21 who resigned or retired solely because of the COVID-19 pandemic is entitled to reinstatement of their former or an equivalent position and reinstatement of any fringe benefits and seniority rights to which they had been entitled before retiring/resigning. If an educator returns under this provision, the district cannot take adverse employment action based on the retirement/resignation.
  • SB 257 by Sen. Menendez adds 14 days of paid leave for a school employee testing positive for COVID-19 (or other disease that is the basis of a disaster declaration). These days cannot be deducted from accrued personal leave or FMLA leave. In addition, an employee in a district in 2021-22 who was employed by the same district in 2020-21 is entitled to the number of days for which the employee used in 2020-21 after testing positive, up to 14 days.
  • SB 258 by Sen. Menendez provides districts an annual allotment to be used to improve access to remote education and distance learning, including technology-related costs.
  • SB 348 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst adds to current law regarding parents’ rights to review teacher materials and tests that parents may observe any virtual instruction and review materials related to virtual or remote learning.
  • SB 436 by Sen. Cesar Blanco provides that a health insurance issuer cannot deny coverage or refuse to enroll an individual in a health insurance plan on the basis of a COVID-19 diagnosis, may not limit or exclude coverage for treatment, and may not charge more for coverage than it charges for an individual without the condition. (Applies to the state and school district plans for school employees, as well as other public and private employer plans.)
  • SB 481 by Sen. Kolkhorst provides that a student in a district providing only virtual instruction for any part of a school year can transfer for that year to another district that offers in-person instruction.