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The Latest on COVID-19: Clarification on What’s What

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 3/23/2020

These are unprecedented times, and everyone in the public education community is doing things in ways they have never been done before. Recommendations, guidance, and orders seem to change daily. With everything that is unknown, it seems like a good time to remember that there are a few things that we do know:

The governor has “closed” schools through April 3 with the possibility that the closure may be extended, but this does not mean educators aren’t working.
Both state and local authorities have consistently clarified education needs to continue to the extent possible through distance learning. This means instructional staff may be directed to prepare material, as well as come in as needed for planning and training. Other staff may also be directed to come to the workplace to perform other needed functions. The governor’s limit of groups to fewer than 10 applied to social gatherings, so it does not limit the size of groups engaged in work.

“Shelter-in-place” orders are being enacted locally, and, while generally consistent, each order is independent.
To date, several counties or municipalities have enacted “shelter-in-place” orders, limiting activities outside the home. While these orders generally have been consistent so far, each order is specific to its locality. At this point, the orders have consistently recognized public education as an essential function that needs to continue and has allowed travel and attendance in the workplace to the extent needed to continue educating our schoolchildren. The orders have also required social distancing to the degree feasible.

Educators who are directed to work generally need to do so, but exceptions apply.
The critical work of public education continues. But educators who are unable to work may look to both preexisting and new options that provide flexibility. As always, if you are sick, you are sick, and multiple types of leave might apply. If you suspect you may have the coronavirus, you should seek immediate care. In addition, if you have children at home or are caring for someone who has or may have contracted COVID-19, there are leave options that might apply.

ATPE is here for you.
Visit our Coronavirus FAQ and Resources page for the latest information.