SAN ANTONIO – For many schools districts around San Antonio, the start of the new school year is about a month away and with the Texas Education Agency releasing guidelines on best practices for keeping students safe from the coronavirus, parents and teachers have some big decisions to make.
Burbank High School Teacher Luke Amphlett said his biggest concern among he and his fellow educators is student safety.
Amphlett said he believes the guidelines released by TEA this week are too rigid and are not in line with what local health experts are recommending.
“It becomes increasingly difficult to pull that off if we keep seeing large amounts of community transmission, very high rates of infection like we’re having in Bexar County and across Texas right now,” Amphlett said. “It’s like TEA is asking us to pull off something that no one on Earth has actually pulled off yet.”
Parents will need to choose between in-class instruction or remote learning and may not be able to switch from one learning model until the end of the grading period.
“There’s actually no reason why we can’t build flexibility into our school schedules,” Amphlett said. “We’ve just pulled off an incredible feat, which was taking school and turning it into an online practice in the span of literally two weeks. And we did an incredible job. It is definitely imperfect. We would definitely all prefer to be in the classroom working with our students, but the work done by American educators in this spring is incredible.”
Another concern for Amphlett is what to do when students and teachers start getting sick and teachers need to quarantine.
Amphlett says during the course of a normal school year, it’s already a challenge to get substitute teachers.
“A lot of our subs are incredible people,” he said. “They are members of the community. A lot of them are retired teachers and a lot of them are older. A lot of them are in risk categories for COVID-19 and the ones that I’ve spoken to don’t have a lot of intention for coming back into the classroom in the fall.”
Amphlett, who is a member of the San Antonio Teachers Alliance union, said whatever districts do in the fall with be a challenge, but there needs to be some “flexibility.”
You can view the TEA guidelines for the new school year below: