Katy Families React to TEA Guidelines to Reopen Schools


July 8, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced guidelines for Texas schools to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Safety measures for in-person classes were outlined by the TEA, as well as the option for families to choose remote instruction for their children. Katy ISD plans to reopen and offer in-person classes this August.

On Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency released guidelines that outlined practices to allow Texas schools to open for in-person learning while still prioritizing the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff.

“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.”

Katy ISD Plans for August Reopening

Maria Dipetta, Katy ISD Manager of Media Relations & Multimedia, says District families will decide how their children will start the 2020-21 academic year.

“Parents will have the opportunity to choose whether they want to send their child back to school for in-person instruction or keep them at home to engage in a virtual learning model,” says Maria Dipetta.

Later this month, parents will be asked to formally inform the District whether they want their child to participate in virtual learning. An online commitment form will be available on the Katy ISD website.

Beginning next week, Katy ISD will launch a ‘return to schools’ web page that will include safety protocols, information about the in-person and virtual instructional models that will be available to students, and Frequently Asked Questions,” says DiPetta. “Information about how parents can inform the District of their preferred instructional model will be available on the District website during the week of July 13.”   

Information on how 504’s and IEP’s will be accommodated through in-person social distancing and remote learning has yet to be released.

The TEA asks that parents remain committed to their child’s academic course throughout each grading period. Essentially, parents can monitor the state of the pandemic and change their child from remote learning to in-person or vice versa, at the completion of each grading period.

Health and Safety Procedures Enforced

All students, teachers, staff, and visitors will be screened based on Governor Abbott’s current executive order. Currently, Texas is under a mandatory executive order to wear masks. If that order remains in place, then masks will be required in schools.

The TEA will provide schools in the state with tens of thousands of personal protective equipment (PPE). They have also set up districts with TEKS-aligned learning tools to deliver remote instruction, and offered teacher training at no cost to the district.

Katy ISD School Reopening Survey

This week, Katy ISD shared the results from a survey that was sent out to KISD student families. Out of the 95,579 surveys emailed out, about one-third of the survey recipients responded. The results varied but reflected that 49% of those who responded would feel “comfortable or somewhat comfortable” with their children returning to in-person learning next month. Read more about the results.

“As with any survey, the District’s survey represents a sampling of the population surveyed, as well as a snapshot of their perspectives at the time of its administration,” says Dipetta. The survey outcomes provided the District with baseline information on our parents’ general feelings concerning the current environment around public health, the reopening of schools, safety protocols and the type of instructional model in which they may have an interest in pursuing when schools reopen