COVID-19 Student Safety Tips and TSIA Updates

Posted by Texas OnCourse on Apr 1, 2020 5:32:23 PM

Texas OnCourse has your latest updates on COVID-19 and Texas education.

This week we're covering:

  1. Updated policies for school meal pick up
  2. Keeping everyone safe during paper packet delivery
  3. An update on taking the TSI assessment  

First, the US Department of Agriculture has loosened rules around curbside meal pickup. Until last week, parents had to bring their children to prove they qualify for school meals. Since this requirement contradicts public health policy, feds have agreed to grant flexibility to school districts. Parents and guardians can check your district’s website or social media for updated rules. Some districts may still require parents and guardians to bring documentation of their children during meal pickup. 

Second, the Texas Education Agency has released recommendations for keeping everyone safe when coordinating paper packet pickup. The TEA notes that there are three different ways in which the coronavirus can spread with the transfer of paper packets: 1) from school personnel to the family, 2) from the family back to school personnel, and 3) from family to family. The document from the TEA includes considerations for packet distribution and return via direct delivery or hand-off. They also remind you to consider when it may be appropriate and acceptable to accept return of materials in photos sent via MMS, which does not require internet access.

And third, last week we updated you on STAAR, AP testing, and the SAT and ACT. This week, we have a quick update on the Texas Success Initiative Assessment, or TSIA. According to the TEA, students will still be able to take the TSIA this year online using the website Examity. In addition to the cost of the test, there will be a reduced proctor fee of 20 dollars. TEA will reimburse districts for both the TSIA exam cost and the $20 proctor fee. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is holding a webinar tomorrow – Wednesday April 1, at two p.m. – on the TSIA and COVID-19 related issues and questions. 

Finally, we wanted to let you know about a few new resources we’re creating to support you through distance advising and instruction. First, we invite you to a webinar we’re holding next Tuesday, April 7, at 10 a.m. We’ll have a couple of our leader fellows on the line to share some ways they’ve been engaging students remotely. We’ll also host an open discussion about the challenges you’re facing and any tips you’d like to offer up to colleagues. If you can’t join us live, we can send you the recording – we just need you to register to do so. 

And lastly, we added a couple of resource pages to our website. One page includes resources for your use to support you professionally in this time. You’ll find this page on our website, under the tools menu – look for COVID-19 Resources for Educators. We also have a page of resources for students that you can pass along directly. For example, there are videos to help them prepare for the summer before college, handouts on how to follow up on college applications, and digital resources for course planning. You can find this page on our website, also under the tools menu. It’s called COVID-19 Resources for Students. We’ll be updating both of these resource pages regularly.   

Thanks y’all. Stay safe and healthy, and see you next week!

NOTE: This is a transcript of a Facebook Live video filmed on 3/24/20. Click here to watch that video.

Topics: Middle School, College Planning, Educators, Coronavirus