Below are today’s updates regarding COVID-19 and its impact on Texas public schools.  For additional resources, please visit our COVID-19 page.

Title IX: Questions and Answers Regarding the Final Rule
Dean Micknal, Partner and Victoria Elliott, Associate

On May 6, 2020, the US Department of Education issued an extensive update to the Title IX regulations (the “Final Rule”).  As the new regulations take effect on August 14, 2020, districts do not have much time to digest the information and prepare for implementation.  In an effort to assist our districts in learning the new material, Leasor Crass will be providing guidance and training over the next few months, beginning with the answers to what we expect to be some common questions listed below.

Please click here to continue reading.

TEA’s Updated Guidance on Graduation Ceremonies (*Updated 5.27.2020*)
Holly James, Senior Associate

On May 18th, TEA updated its guidance pertaining to graduation ceremonies.  Districts now have four options for ceremonies:

  1. Completely virtual ceremonies are approved and may proceed without the need for any further action on the part of the district.
  2. “Hybrid ceremonies” (those involving a compilation of pre-recorded videos of students filmed individually or in small groups) are now permitted to take place effective May 5th (moved up from May 15th).
  3. Vehicle ceremonies may proceed effective May 15th.
  4. Outdoor in-person ceremonies may take place in any county on or after May 29th.

a. Between May 15 and May 28, outdoor ceremonies are permitted in rural counties that have filed the required attestation form regarding five or fewer COVID-19 cases.

Indoor ceremonies are not permitted yet.

TEA’s guidance contains detailed conditions and restrictions for each of the different types of ceremonies currently allowed.  Note that the permissions and guidelines are subject to change at any time depending on changes to the public-health situation.

Note: Recommendations specific to Dallas County are available here.

TEA Special Education Updates for the Week of May 4, 2020
Dean Micknal, Partner

The Texas Education Agency updated the COVID-19 Special Education Q&A last week to address a number of issues relating to evaluations and graduating students.

First, TEA clarified that the expiration of Governor Abbott’s Stay at Home Order does not give LEAs the green light to start performing face to face evaluations.  Rather, districts will need to continue adhering to the statewide school closure requirements.

TEA also addressed several important issues that implicate ARD committee authority and duties:

  • Question 12 reiterates that ARD committees will need to make individualized determinations with respect to what additional or alternative services might be needed to meet transition goals when IEP prescribed transition services are not able to be provided due to the COVID-19 pandemic response.
  • Question 13 addresses how ARD committees should proceed in making determinations about graduation for a student with modified curriculum when the student was unable to complete all activities required by the IEP.
  • Question 14 discusses how ARD committees should approach the provision of compensatory services to students who are graduating in the Spring of 2020.
  • Finally, Question 15 explains that federal regulations still require any decision to exit a student from special education services to be “informed by a complete evaluation of all relevant areas of student performance”, meaning that ARD committees are not allowed to move forward with exiting a student if they have not been able to complete an evaluation.

Please contact one of the attorneys at Leasor Crass in the event you need additional guidance on any of these issues pertaining to special education.

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Leasor Crass has been an invaluable asset to Wylie Independent School District for 8 years. As a trusted advisor and reliable guide, the firm has consistently supported us through every challenge we’ve faced. Their common sense and pragmatic approach to the law have earned them greater trust with each passing year. We feel incredibly fortunate to have them represent our school district. With their ongoing support and guidance, we are confident in our ability to overcome any obstacle as we continue to strive for educational excellence.

– Dr. David Vinson, Superintendent, Wylie Independent School District

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House Bill 3 Strengthens School Safety and Security

House Bill 3 brings major changes to school safety, specifically requiring districts to strengthen active shooter policies and safety plans. Effective September 1, 2023, it is imperative that districts begin to review the new requirements of HB 3 to ensure policies and procedures are compliant in time for the upcoming school year. Security Officers/Facility Safety […]

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