Texas teachers association demands governor close schools for the year

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas State Teachers Association is demanding Texas Governor Greg Abbott close all of Texas’ schools for the remainder of the school year.

“Disease experts expect this pandemic to get worse, maybe much worse, in Texas before we see any relief, and the governor must take these steps now to protect millions of school children and the adults dedicated to serving and caring for them,” TSTA President Noel Candelaria said in a news release. “A comprehensive, statewide school closure order is necessary because the outbreak is expanding across the state, and we don’t know which counties it will strike next. Leaving this decision to individual districts creates unnecessary confusion and stress across Texas.”

The TSTA referred to neighboring states, such as Oklahoma and New Mexico, as examples of areas that have closed schools for the rest of the semester.

In addition to shutting down schools, the TSTA is urging the governor to protect the health and safety of students, educators, their families and communities.

The protection of health and safety was outlined with additional demands from the TSTA: require schools to continue distributing free meals, continue to fully fund school districts and pay and provide benefits to hourly employees, guarantee paid sick time for all school employees, aid school districts by finding ways to ensure educational equity for all students and waive all teacher appraisals for the academic year.

“We also call on the governor to take steps assuring that all students, regardless of special needs, will continue to receive lessons and activities in a safe and secure manner during the closures and that all educators, including hourly school employees, will continue to be paid and receive health care benefits,” Candelaria said. “Educators, as always, are dedicated to their students, even under extremely difficult and trying circumstances, but they must know that they will have the resources to meet their own families’ needs during this emergency.”