AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Leaders in Texas are making it clear that local school boards, not health authorities, will be making decisions on reopening plans for the fall as the 2020-2021 year approaches.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said earlier this week that school boards or the governor should be making reopening decisions and not local health authorities.
Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor and House Education Chairman Dan Huberty on Friday released a joint statement about authority on reopening plans.
“The TEA guidance applies long-standing state law and Executive Orders to conclude that the authority to make decisions about when and how schools safely open rests with the constitutionally and statutorily established local school boards,” the statement read, in part.. “The authority to decide when the school year will begin lies with local school boards. They can choose dates in August, September, or even later. But, whenever the local school board chooses to open, the board must comply with the requirement to provide the necessary number of days and hours of instruction for students.”
The leaders also stated that school boards have the ability to close a campus for up to five days if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19. If a school must be closed, it will still receive funding for online-only learning.
Local health authorities, however, can determine if a building must be closed due to an outbreak, according to the state leaders.
“Additionally, during the course of the school year, a local public health authority may determine that a school building must be closed in response to an outbreak. If that occurs, that school will continue to receive funding for providing remote-only instruction during the period of that closure,” the statement read.
The entire statement can be read here.