COVID-19 News of Interest

The following resources have been compiled by STAT from various media stories, articles and press releases to provide guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our community of science educators informed of the latest news and developments impacting schools and campuses in Texas.

7.17.2020  TEA Announces Additional Reopening Guidance, Including Local Option for an Online-Only Start to the 2020-21 School Year

Last week, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released public health planning guidance for the 2020-21 academic year in order to well prepare students, teachers, and staff to safely return to school campuses for daily, in-person instruction. Given the latest developments around COVID-19, TEA is issuing important updates to the guidance. In response to the varying public health realities of each Texas community, these changes give the needed flexibility for schools to effectively provide a smooth transition for students, teachers, and staff so that they will experience the safest and least disruptive mode of learning during the beginning of the school year.

School systems will now be able to temporarily limit access to on-campus instruction for the first four weeks of school. After the first four weeks, a school system can continue to limit access to on-campus instruction for an additional four weeks, if needed, with a board-approved waiver request to TEA. 

Read the Full Press Release

4.17.2020 — Texas schools will remain closed for the remainder of this school year, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday at a news conference. Abbott previously ordered schools closed to students until May 4 but did not rule out extending his order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Read the Full Article

4.2.2020 — Texas Education Agency (TEA) received approval from U.S. Department of Education (USDE) on March 30, 2020, to waive statewide assessment and accountability requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), for the 2019–2020 school year.

Additionally, for 2020 state academic accountability, all districts and campuses will receive a label of Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster.

Read the Full Press Release

3.31.2020  Gov. Abbott issues social distancing order through April, closes Texas schools until May 4

"Gov. Greg Abbott issued social distancing protocols through April 30 and closed schools through May 4 in an executive order announced on Tuesday to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Only essential businesses will be open through the month of April forcing gyms, massage clinics and cosmetology salons to close for another 30 days."
Read the Full Article on KXAN.COM

3.19.2020  Governor Abbott Issues Order to Temporarily Close Schools

3.18.2020 — TEA Announces Cancellation of STAAR Testing for the Remainder of the School Year

"Given the impact of COVID-19, Governor Greg Abbott is using his statutory authority as the governor of Texas under Texas Government Code, §418.016 to suspend annual academic assessment requirements for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year. TEA will work with the United States Department of Education to request waivers from federal testing and accountability requirements for the 2019–2020 school year."

Read More

3.17.2020 — STAT Update

Based on guidance from public health authorities, STAT has shifted operations to a virtual basis beginning Monday, March 16. Please know that we are not suspending nor closing operations; we will continue to serve you during this time. With that said, you may find it best to communicate through email for the coming weeks ([email protected]).

During this time, STAT will focus on supporting our community through these extraordinary challenges, while ensuring the continuation of standard association efforts related to programming and services. STAT is currently developing a repository of resources to support members as we all adjust to the impact of COVID-19. This will roll out by the end of the week. Member communications that would typically happen this time of year  including elections, awards, CAST planning – will continue to be distributed as scheduled. STAT leadership will be transparent and communicate any changes as necessary.

We are all in this together. Support each other, share resources and stay connected on STAT365.

3.16.2020 — STAAR Testing Waived 

3.12.2020 — STAT Update 

With CAST 2020 scheduled for November, we are currently moving forward with our regular timelines, planning and preparations. STAT leadership is diligently monitoring the situation as it unfolds and will adjust and communicate changes as necessary.

We plan to host an incredible event as we return to Houston, but the safety of our attendees, exhibitors, volunteers and staff will always be paramount.

As an organization dedicated to advancing science teaching and learning, we will base our decision-making on the recommendations of scientists and the data from the CDC, the World Health Organization and state and local health officials.

For the most current information about COVID-19, please see the following resources:

• World Health Organization
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Recommendations to Prevent COVID-19