A Roundup of ATPE’s Latest Advocacy Efforts Regarding COVID-19
Date Posted: 12/07/2020
As the Texas education community deals with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, ATPE continues to advocate for its members and students, communicating with Gov. Greg Abbott, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, and other state officials, as well as frequently updating its resources page.
Here’s a roundup of ATPE’s latest advocacy efforts.
- Reiteration of our request that Gov. Greg Abbott waive state requirements for the 2020-21 STAAR and request a federal waiver of accountability requirements for this school year.
- Conversations with state officials advocating for public educators to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
- Lobbying members of Congress to approve additional COVID-19 relief funding for schools and affected individuals.
- A call for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to improve upon a plan created for the El Paso area that offers additional flexibility on school reopenings. While in need of improvement, it is the first time TEA has transparently employed objective, health-related criteria in its school reopening criteria, something ATPE has advocated for since the pandemic began. We believe this plan should be refined and made available statewide in case of further COVID-19 hotspot development.
- Urging the state to extend its “hold harmless” funding provision to protect schools that have seen significant drops in student attendance this year.
In addition to this advocacy, ATPE continues to update and add to our COVID-19 FAQs and Resources page, atpe.org/coronavirus. The page offers answers to the following questions and more:
- Can the district take away my accommodation to work remotely after it has been granted?
- Can a teacher be reprimanded or fired for publicly disagreeing with their district's safety or reopening plan?
- Must a school district inform the staff if an individual tests positive for the coronavirus?
- I am considering quitting. Is there anything I need to be aware of?
The resource page also links to:
- Self-care resources, including a recent webcast on managing anxiety presented by a licensed marriage and family therapist.
- An online parent-teacher toolkit developed in collaboration with TAGT, TCASE, STAT, and Texas PTA.
- Legal webinars on leave options and school safety.
ATPE knows this year has been far more challenging than anyone could have anticipated. We are honored to serve the Texas education community during these uncertain times.
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