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Classrooms in Lubbock may be empty for longer than first anticipated after the announcement from Governor Abbott came in June that public school in Texas would resume in the fall.

Publicly funded schools in Texas have been struggling to make considerations and accommodations in order to have kids return to classrooms in the fall. During the current pandemic, many teachers and parents are concerned about the well-known spread of germs at schools and how children would be protected from contracting and spreading COVID-19.

While guidelines from the Texas Education Agency allows for a three week transition period from virtual learning to classroom learning, once the fall semester begins, it was thought that funding would be withheld if school districts opted to keep classrooms closed. That may not be the case after all.

According to the Texas Tribune, a mandate from public health officials could help superintendents and school boards make the decision to continue virtual learning past the three week transition period which will start the school year.

In other words, if our local health officials decide that the best choice for Lubbock is to have schools provide the option for students to receive either online or in-class learning.

We have also reached out to TEA in order to receive clarification on some of the guidelines provided in a July 7th publication which suggests that "Any parent may request that their student be offered virtual instruction from any school system that offers such instruction. If a parent who chooses virtual instruction wants their child to switch to an on-campus instructional setting, they can do so, but school systems are permitted to limit these transitions to occur only at the end of a grading period, if it will be beneficial to the student’s instructional quality. If a parent requests virtual instruction and the 3 school does not offer it, the parent may enroll in another school that does offer it for transfer students."

An update and more information will be added to this story once a response from Texas Education Agency is received.