The following letter was sent to Governor Greg Abbott, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, Rep. Vikki Goodwin, Rep. Donna Howard and Sen. Kirk Watson:
Eanes ISD continues to make plans for fall 2020 and remains committed to implementing the Ready to Re-Engage (R2R) plan that protects staff and students while also providing an effective instructional program both in-building and remote. Over the past four months, our team has worked tirelessly to construct a flexible strategy that gives employees and families options.
Last week’s announcement from the TEA is disappointing because it does not balance student needs with staff concerns as well as constraints placed on the local school district. In recommending “on-campus instruction must be offered for all grades served by the campus every day for every student whose parents want them to access on-campus instruction,” TEA fails to acknowledge the wishes of both staff and community, nor does it recognize how essentially eliminating social distancing in classrooms could profoundly affect the health of adults in our schools.
Further, TEA’s decision may have a significant effect on our ability to provide adequate staffing and manage class sizes, which eliminates any efforts to control social distancing.
Therefore, we strongly advocate for the following items:
- suspension of in-person school and allowance for 100% virtual learning until the seven-day hospitalization average is five or less, the threshold set by the Austin-Travis County public health agency for a stage 2 response;
- flexibility to realistically minimize classroom ratios and provide social distancing;
- the suspension of STAAR and the A-F system for the 2020-21 school year;
- additional funding to supplement costs incurred by districts to provide safe and effective learning; and
- a commitment to allocate current or future federal money specified for schools as a supplement to existing funding commitments by the state.
We ask you to please support local choices made by school districts, including the thousands of staff and families within Eanes ISD who rely so heavily on your decisions and guidance. We want schools to reopen – that is our mission and our passion - but we must also be mindful of many variables while keeping the health and safety of students, teachers and staff at the heart of everything we do.
Dr. Tom Leonard
Superintendent of Schools
Ms. Jennifer Champagne
Eanes ISD Board President