The Latest Information and Resources on COVID-19 and Texas Education

Posted by Texas OnCourse on Mar 17, 2020 8:01:03 PM

The Texas education community is facing unprecedented challenges in extended school closures, which are also unfolding in the midst of rapidly changing news.

We at Texas OnCourse are steadfast in serving the Texas education community however we can. The Academy and our curriculum resources remain online and free to all. We are also making plans to support those of you teaching and counseling your students at home in the coming days and weeks. That includes posting a regular roundup here on our blog of the latest headlines and helpful, trustworthy resources. 

Here are today’s:

Texas Virus-Related Education Updates

TEA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Guidance page (TEA)

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) works closely with the Office of the Governor, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) on COVID-19 planning and response. They compile the latest information on this page.

STAAR testing cancelled for 2019-20 school year (Austin American-Statesman)

From the article: “On Monday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements would be waived. Abbott said he also is working with the TEA on developing additional methods to ensure students are learning and ready to succeed at the next grade level. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath also said on Monday that given the need for social distancing, schools across the state are closing normal operations, and working to support learning while students are at home.”

National Education Updates

We recommend following social channels for the College Board, the Common Application, ACT, and others for the latest news (and tell your students and their families to do so as well). We will also do our best to amplify announcements on our own social media. 

Here are a few recent updates that caught our eye:

  • The Common App, on what students should do if they’re still completing college applications.
  • The College Board, on what to do if you are registered to take the March 14 SAT (includes test center closings).
  • The ACT, on rescheduling the April 4 exam.

Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus

Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus (New York Times)

The New York Times compiles advice from experts on how parents can help their adolescent children navigate the online noise, separate fact from fiction, and stay calm.

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)

News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the playground at school. Many parents are wondering how to bring up the epidemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. Here is some advice from the experts at the Child Mind Institute.

Resources for Distance Learning and Counseling

Coronavirus Student Guide: Explanations And News Updates (PBS Newshour Extra)

The Great State of Texas School Counselors group on Facebook recommends this lesson plan as a good first guidance lesson for homebound students. 

37 Free Online Resources for Schools Shifting Online During Coronavirus (National School Choice Week)

The National School Choice Week team is maintaining a list of free online resources for schools, educators, and administrators to help them navigate distance learning. They will continue to monitor and update the resources listed as new ones become available. 

Finding Community 

Teachers Share Resources for Teaching Online During Coronavirus School Closures (Education Week)

This blog from Education Week shares a number of ways educators are creating a sense of community and collaborating on challenges with their peers nationally, including using the hashtag #virtualschool on Twitter and participating in a Facebook group, with more than 84,000 members, called Educator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning.

Here’s how else you can stay connected in these trying times:

  • Connect with your colleagues across the state in our Facebook group.
  • We’ll be broadcasting weekly live videos on our Facebook page, running down the latest news or addressing your biggest concerns.
  • If you have questions or suggestions on ways we can help you support your students on their postsecondary futures via remote delivery, please email us. 

Topics: Educators