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Dozens of Texas school districts closed due to staffing shortages linked to omicron surge |  KTAB

AUSTIN (Nexstar) – Staffing shortages are driving school closures across the state as omicron continues to increase case counts.

Nancy Thompson, a mother of three, said she started following after noticing parents from all over Texas were posting in his Facebook group, Mothers Against Greg Abbott.

“It encompasses all of Texas. It’s not just a handful of CIOs that are closed. It’s actually 98 ISD,” Thompson explained.

Since that interview, at least three other districts have announced closures. Today, education advocates are reviving their calls for more local control.

“Allow school districts to be able to implement procedures, like requiring masks on their campuses when they see an increase in cases, like having protocols for having virtual learning in places where it is not safe to be in school buildings,” Ovidia Molina, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, said Friday.

Currently, the Texas Education Agency allows schools to offer remote learning to students who test positive or have close contact for up to 20 days. However, there is no framework for virtual learning when staff test positive.

The reason these rules were put in place was the “COVID slide”, when months of virtual learning took their toll on students around the world. Still, advocates said remote learning should be a short-term option in emergencies like this.

“We know the best learning environment for students is face-to-face where we build relationships, but what if our educators aren’t healthy enough to come into work?” Molina said.

The TEA has also advised school districts ahead of this school year to build extra days into their schedules for scenarios like the ones we’re seeing now. In a statement, the agency said it was closely monitoring the current situation.

“Our agency is in regular contact with school system leaders across Texas and responding to the needs of districts reporting issues due to the Omicron surge; this includes exploring policies that will provide schools with additional assistance,” the statement continued.


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