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The muddied water regarding school reopening

Wednesday brought much unnecessary confusion for Educators, Parents, Students and their families.

Where did it all start?

July 17, the Texas Education Agency released a statement saying that online classes would be an option for students and parents.

July 28, Attorney General Ken Paxton released a guidance letter to Texas stating that Local Health Authorities DO NOT have authority to prevent in person classes. “Rather, their role is limited by statute to addressing specific, actual outbreaks of disease,” Paxton said in a statement. “School officials, both public and private, are the appropriate ones to decide whether, when, and how to open school.”

Local Health Authorities of the 5 most populous counties struck back saying that under the Emergency Declaration they do.

As of now there is NO executive order by the Governor mandating that the LHA does not have the authority and thereby renders Paxton’s opinion mute.

Hours after the Attorney General released his opinion on Tuesday, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath issued his statement saying that, “As a state agency, we will follow the Attorney General’s guidance. Consequently, under TEA regulations, a blanket order closing schools does not constitute a legally issued closure order for purposes of funding solely remote instruction for an indefinite period of time.”

July 29, Texas Education Agency released a statement saying that children have a right to stay home and if LHA deems necessary they may have on line instruction.

As you can see TEA has another section of guidance which says the agency will continue to provide funding to districts that are forced to close campuses by an entity “authorized to issue such an order under state law” — and as of now, local health authorities have issued legal orders.

Essentially, the TEA has provided two potentially conflicting pieces of guidance, One by the entity and one by it’s director.

There is NO clarification as to what will occur or what is the correct course of action.

However, the only person who can clarify this matter is Texas Governor Greg Abbott by Executive Order. Governor Abbott has not issued ANY executive orders since March regarding Schools.

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