Survey highlights school violations for COVID-19 safety

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — A new survey is shedding light on concerns teachers have about returning to the classroom.

In an online survey, 664 Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) members from 135 districts around the state reported violations, including personnel policies, which violate recommended guidelines or best practices for school safety during the health emergency.

TSTA spoke to educators throughout the state.

“They’re working harder from home,” said Linda Estrada, Vice President of The Texas State Teachers Association.

The union conducted a survey asking hundreds of teachers their concerns about returning to the classroom.

“Texas has been in too big of a hurry to open up the school buildings and putting our employees and students at risk,” said the Estrada.

The results showing over 200 violations. Below is the list of violations released.

  • 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

Here in the Rio Grande Valley, Estrada said one district sticks out.

“The biggest offender was Brownsville…basically the PPE’S to keep the employees and the student’s safe. That was the biggest concern right there. The second one was insufficient accommodations for school employees and family members,” she said.

Brownsville ISD released the following statement:

The Brownsville Independent School District’s (BISD) mission is to graduate students who are prepared to excel in higher education and successfully pursue career opportunities in a changing global society by maximizing resources to ensure equitable opportunities for all students.

It’s the belief of the school district that everyone in the community has inherent values, talents, and beliefs. Also, that the success of each student, educator, and family is vital for future growth and sustainability in the community.

The district respects the associations’ opinions, however, it is the responsibility and obligation of the BISD superintendent to follow and adhere state and federal guidelines such as the Texas Education Agency and the United States Department of Education to provide the highest quality of instruction during these extraordinary and difficult times.

Although the decisions made by the local, state, and national governments may not be understood, BISD and stakeholders must work together as a community to achieve the district’s mission and goals of educating our children.

BISD has continued to provide meals during the pandemic since March, the summer, and at the start of the school year. The district has also provided teachers raises and has purchased $10 million dollars of school supplies, internet hotspots, laptops, and iPads, to enhance distance learning.

BISD has developed a plan of action to safely begin the phase-in process of allowing students to attend face-to-face instruction as required by state guidelines. This plan has been presented to the Board of Trustees and Administration to start the implementation of the reopening phase in late September.

The district will remain focused as well as ensuring the health and safety of the students and employees as a number one priority

“You can have all the health and safety guidelines in the world but if they aren’t enforced they aren’t worth much,” said the Estrada.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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