Education commissioner: STAAR testing suspended, Texas schools could remain closed through the end of the school year

As previously reported, Gov. Greg Abbott has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year due to fears related to the COVID-19 outbreak. He also requested that the Department of Education waive federal testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

The governor’s office is working closely with the Texas Education Agency to ensure that schools continue to deliver instruction to students while they are absent or while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

Over 30 Houston-area school districts have canceled classes; Houston ISD schools are closed through March 30.

In an effort to help students and families during the closures, several Houston-area school districts are offering free curbside meals.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told officials Sunday that schools could remain closed through the end of the school year. Schools in 177 counties throughout the state have canceled classes temporarily, Morath said.

In a conference call, Morath told Texas Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, and others that some schools could remain closed for many weeks or months. Sporting events and proms also could be cancelled, he said.

Patterson sent a letter Friday to the Texas Education Agency urging that STAAR Testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year be eliminated, the same day the governor announced they would be waived.

Canceling test requirements will enable students to “have sufficient time to receive required instruction time for the school year without having to extend classroom instruction time beyond the end of the school year,” Patterson said.

Scores on the STAAR exam determine whether students can graduate and how well or poorly schools are rated and eligible for specific funding.

As of noon Monday, there are 57 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, with the most being reported in Harris County.

This article was first published by The Center Square.

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