On April 17, 2020, Governor Abbott ordered all schools to remain closed “to in-person classroom attendance by students” for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers and staff are encouraged to continue to work remotely from home if possible, but are now permitted to “return to schools to conduct remote video instruction, as well as perform administrative duties, under the strict terms required by the Texas Education Agency.”
In accordance with the Governor’s order, TEA has established the following parameters that must be followed when allowing staff to enter school facilities:
- School classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Teachers may go into the classroom for video instruction, to perform administrative duties, and/or to clean out their classrooms.
- Where possible, teachers and staff should continue to work remotely, and if they cannot do so, they should follow the parameters outlined by TEA.
- Teacher and staff time at schools should be staggered at each individual campus to enable social distancing to be implemented effectively.
- Teachers and staff must be in the classrooms or offices by themselves and must maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from one another.
- Teachers and staff should wear masks if available, or face coverings if masks are not available.
- Teachers and staff must screen themselves before coming into school for: new or worsening cough; shortness of breath; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit; or known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19.
- Schools must clean and sanitize bathrooms, doorknobs, and other commonly touched surfaces.
Governor Abbott’s April 17th Order further mandates that “every person in Texas shall, except where necessary to provide or obtain essential services or reopened services, minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.” Our discussion about what constitutes an “essential service” is available here. “Reopened services” consist of non-essential retail services provided through pickup or delivery beginning April 24, 2020.