Texas teachers report nearly 3,800 COVID-19 safety violations since in-person schooling began

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 600 teachers and school staff members surveyed across 135 Texas school districts reported nearly 3,800 COVID-19 violations and safety issues since in-person schooling began at districts across the state.

The Texas State Teachers Association, which conducted the survey, reports the top three violations are “insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members (435), inadequate ventilation or ventilation equipment (401), and inadequate classroom social distancing (385).”

There were 3,782 total violations reported, the Texas State Teachers Association says.

  • Non-compliance with mask mandate: 246
  • Inadequate classroom social distancing: 385
  • Inadequate ventilation or ventilation equipment: 401
  • Inadequate protective supplies (masks, etc.): 357
  • Inadequate access to cleaning/sanitation supplies: 243
  • Insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members: 435
  • Lack of school quarantine space or process: 247
  • Inadequate or inequitable availability of distance-learning resources for students: 238
  • Inadequate district sick leave policies: 337
  • Inadequate mitigation policies for lunch or transportation: 255
  • Lack of health/safety policy enforcement: 268
  • Insufficient staffing for new measures and protocols: 370

“The biggest issue our members are raising involves inadequate accommodations for high-risk employees or those with high-risk dependents at home. These teachers with underlying health conditions should be allowed to teach remotely from home, but in many cases they are being required to teach from their classrooms or risk losing their jobs,” TSTA President Ovidia Molina said.

Officials with the TSTA said the responsibility falls on Governor Abbott and the Texas Education Agency.

However, the method and timing in which school districts can begin in-person learning is in the hands of each district across the State of Texas. Earlier this year, the Texas Education Agency granted all districts four weeks of virtual learning with an option to add another four weeks if a waiver is submitted with board approval, without risk of losing state funding.

While some school districts have taken the option to offer virtual instruction for eight guaranteed weeks, others have elected to phase in students for in-person learning.

KXAN has reached out to Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency for comment. This story will reflect their responses when they come in.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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