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Q:          Nearly all our teachers have performed some type of virtual instruction in addition to standard face-to-face instruction. Should we evaluate our employees on both virtual and in-person instruction!  A:         Yes. The Texas Teacher Evaluation & Support System (T-TESS) has provided modified criteria in its Virtual Instruction Rubric that communicates best practices for...
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Q:       In response to winter storm that recently impacted Texas, my district closed for 5 days and offered virtual instruction for 2 days the following week. Can I pay all employees during the period of closure—what about the virtual instruction days? A:        Yes. The Board of Trustees can adopt a resolution that it...
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Q:        Our success rate for virtual learners continues to decline. Can a student’s inability to access virtual learning, unrelated to technological barriers, trigger the District’s child find duty?  A:         Yes. Educators play a key role in the child find process, as they are often the first to notice signs that a student is...
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Q:        I keep hearing about President Biden’s pledge to reopen K-12 schools within 100 days. We’re already open and have been all year. Does this just mean he wants more virtual learners back in the classroom?  A:        Yes. President Biden has asked Congress to authorize nearly $170 billion to help schools and colleges...
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Q:        Our district is receiving inquiries from parents regarding whether our next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting will be held in person. Our Board meetings are currently being held virtually in accordance with the Governor’s suspension of certain Texas Open Meetings Act requirements, effective March 16, 2020, in response to the novel coronavirus disaster...
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Q:       A teacher at our District was allowed to use two weeks of leave in December under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) because her childcare provider was closed due to COVID-19. The teacher is scheduled to be paid for the two weeks of leave during our January payroll cycle. Do we still...
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Q:        I read somewhere that TEA has updated the COVID-19 close contact re-entry procedures and criteria based on new guidance from the CDC. Are there exceptions to the mandatory 14-day stay-at-home period now?  A:        Yes. TEA released an updated version of the Public Health Planning Guidance on December 10, 2020 which provides districts with the...
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Q:        I am hearing that the federal government, through Operation Warp Speed, expects to begin delivering COVID-19 vaccines before the end of 2020. Can a school district require students and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?   A:        Theoretically, yes as to students; no, as to staff (for now). The Texas Department of State...
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Q:        We are growing increasingly concerned with the impact the recent surge of coronavirus cases is having on our attendance and resulting state funding. Are we able to restrict student access to in-person instruction if a campus can no longer be adequately staffed due to a COVID-19 outbreak without impacting our funding?   A:...
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Q:        We are losing staff left and right due to COVID. We have a paraprofessional who would like to help out and “volunteer” as a coach. Can we take her up on her offer?  A:        Unfortunately, no. Because the paraprofessional is a nonexempt employee, the District would be required to pay her for all worked...
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