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Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Emergency Response Food Distribution Scheduled August 13

in Coronavirus Updates/Events
Multi-Agency Resource Center Being Established with Orange County Disaster Rebuild

Orange County Disaster Rebuild and the Southeast Texas Food Bank have partnered together to do a COVID-19 Emergency Response “Drive-Thru” Food Distribution on Thursday, August 13, 2020, beginning at 4 pm.

They will hold it at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center located at 11475 FM 1442; Orange, Texas 77630. Food will be distributed until it is gone.

One food box per family.

If you have any questions, please give them a call at (409)745-9719.

 

Governor Waives Grade Promotion Requirements for STAAR Test for 2020-2021 Year

in Coronavirus Updates/Schools
Governor Abbott Waives STAAR Testing Requirements

Governor Greg Abbott today announced on Monday, July 27, that the grade promotion requirement related to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test for students in grades 5 and 8 has been waived for the upcoming school year. Typically, school systems must take into account a student’s score on the STAAR test to determine whether the student can be promoted to the next grade level. The traditional A-F rating system will remain in place, albeit with certain adjustments due to COVID-19.

Students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 are required to re-take a STAAR test late in the school year, and sometimes again in the summer, if they do not meet grade-level when taken during the spring. With this waiver, there will only be one administration of the STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics and reading assessments for the 2020-21 school year. The test will be administered in May to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3-8 assessments.

“As always, our goal is to provide a high-quality education for every Texas student,” said Governor Abbott. “This will be a uniquely challenging school year, therefore, this year is about providing students every opportunity to overcome the disruptions caused by COVID-19. By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education – which we will continue to measure with high-quality assessments.”

“Parents deserve to know how well their children have learned grade-level knowledge and skills in reading and math, especially in a time when education has been substantially disrupted,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “And educators use this valuable information to make adjustments to support students the following year. But there is no benefit to our children by requiring them to repeat a year based on a single test score given the disruptions of COVID, so we are waiving the grade promotion requirements from STAAR this year for our students.”

“Parents rightfully expect our schools to continue to meet a high bar and it is critically important that teachers and parents know how each child is progressing and whether or not they need additional help. A-F ratings will provide us with important information about school performance and, while we won’t use the STAAR test to determine promotions, it will continue to provide us with assessment data that we need. We face some unprecedented challenges in the upcoming year, but we must continue to keep our schools accountable and on track,” said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

“During a time of great uncertainty, one thing is indisputable – we cannot allow an entire generation of Texas students to be disadvantaged by the unprecedented disruptions this pandemic has caused in our education system. Not only will this approach do a great deal to reduce the `high-stakes’ burden of testing in a school year already complicated by this pandemic, but it will also hold schools accountable for providing high-quality education while equipping teachers and parents with the information they need to make certain students are learning and remain on the path to educational success,” said House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

“During these unprecedented times, with the State’s support, our schools should do everything they can to provide a quality education for our students. I also agree with Governor Abbott that our students should not be penalized by circumstances beyond their control while recognizing the assessment itself provides important insight to grade-level achievement in a new learning environment,” said Senator Larry Taylor.

“With this waiver, we are ensuring that the success of Texas students remains the focus of this school year. These unprecedented times have brought much upheaval to these students’ lives and this is one thing we can do at the State level to help ease them back into their educational routines while still ensuring the institutions of education remain accountable,” stated Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, Dan Huberty.

Additional information can be found on the TEA’s FAQ guide on the Texas Assessment Program.

COVID Testing Offered Wednesday and Thursday in Orange

in Coronavirus Updates/Government
COVID Testing Offered Wednesday and Thursday in Orange

Orange County will be offering two more days of the Military Mobile COVID-19 Testing.

It will be on Wednesday, July 15,  and Thursday, July 16, 2020, from 8 am -4 pm located at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center; 11475 FM 1442 in Orange.

You do not have to make an appointment. Just show up and you will be tested.

The testing will be free of charge.

https://orangeworthy.com/starbucks-opens-today-in-orange/

TEA Issues Comprehensive Guidelines for a Safe Return to On-Campus Instruction for the 2020-21 School Year

in Coronavirus Updates/Schools
TEA Issues Comprehensive Guidelines for a Safe Return to On-Campus Instruction for the 2020-21 School Year

The Texas Education Agency today announced comprehensive guidelines for students to return to school, prioritizing their health and safety while ensuring that students receive quality instruction, whether they choose to learn in a safe on-campus environment or remotely.

“Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “That is why the guidance laid out today will provide flexibility to both parents and districts to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis. The state is and remains committed to providing a high-quality education to all Texas students while ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers, staff, and families.”

Morath added that, despite what will be a challenging budget year, Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and other legislative leaders are committed to fully funding in-class and remote instruction for every child in the upcoming school year. As a result, parents will have more choices than normal this year as they decide which school setting is best for their children, including:

  • Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day.
    • In addition, all parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their children, initially, or at any point as the year progresses. Parents who choose remote instruction for their students may be asked to commit to remote instruction for a full grading period (e.g. 6 or 9 weeks), but will not have to make that commitment more than two weeks in advance, so they can make a decision based on the latest public health information.
  • Health and safety procedures will be in place to support student and teacher safety.
    • Some health procedures are mandated for every school in the state. For example, all students, teachers, staff, and visitors coming to campus must be screened before being allowed on campus. Consistent with the Governor’s most recent executive order, and assuming that order is still in place, masks will be required while in school buildings, with certain exceptions made, as noted in the order. Schools will also be required to follow any forthcoming executive orders issued by the Governor.
    • Additional health procedures are recommended for every school that can reasonably implement those procedures.
    • Districts have the option to establish a phased-in return to on-campus instruction for up to the first three weeks of the school year, to ensure all appropriate health and safety procedures are fully in place.
  • TEA is providing school systems with resources to ensure a strong start. This includes:
    • Reimbursement for extra COVID-19-related expenses incurred during the 2019-20 school year;
    • Tens of millions of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies provided to school systems at no cost to Texas schools;
    • Free online, TEKS-aligned learning tools to deliver remote instruction;
    • Teacher training provided at no cost to the school system; and Statewide efforts to help bridge the digital divide for students at home, along with other ongoing support.

For more information, please visit TEA’s Coronavirus website: https://tea.texas.gov/coronavirus

A link to the Texas Education Agency’s comprehensive public health guidance can be found here.

This framework was developed based on the most current science with input from Governor Greg Abbott’s Coronavirus Medical Advisory Team; the Governor’s Strike Force to Reopen Texas; Texas school system leaders; ongoing global analysis of school operational practices; ongoing global analysis of research on the viral spread in schools; and the latest peer-reviewed viral research studies.

Due to the nature of this pandemic, parents and educators should expect to see some campuses close for brief periods during the upcoming school year. If there are significant changes to the public health situation, there may need to be additional changes to the framework as well.

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