MISD mulls whether to close; 2019-20 STAAR testing canceledwebmaster March 18, 2020 0 COMMENTS
By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent
As of March 16, there were 57 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 17 Texas counties, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Approximately 730 school districts and charters have announced closure in 196 counties. STAAR testing for the 2019-2020 school year has been canceled.
“Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that he has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. R.L. Richards.
In a press release, Richards explained the reasoning behind the timing of a school cancellation decision.
“Since Muleshoe ISD is on a week of spring break, decisions about the opening of school or closing of school will be made late this week, probably on Friday, March 20. Some criteria the school will be reviewing in the decision-making will be the number of COVID 19 cases in Muleshoe and Bailey County, the impact to our students and staff, the effect on the learning of our students, the effect of students needing meals daily, and the overall public health and safety of the community of Muleshoe.
“We will attempt to keep all of our parents and patrons informed on the status of our decisions at the end of the week closer to March 20.”
For more information, MISD patrons may go to the TEA website at tea.texas.gov/coronavirus, or they contact Dani Heathington, Muleshoe ISD assistant superintendent, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. R.L. Richards, superintendent, at email@example.com.”
Richards explained the thought process that will go into the decision of whether and when to cancel school.
“Though many school districts in Texas have closed for an extended spring break, and the New Mexico public schools will be out for three weeks, Muleshoe ISD will be taking more time to plan for the dilemma of the contagious coronavirus. Muleshoe ISD has been involved with daily conference calls with the Texas Education Agency and Commissioner Mike Morath to understand the complexity of COVID 19 and school learning.
“At this time the planning and changing of organizations has been based on the philosophy of each state in the nation as the federal government is attempting to guide each step of this process. The state level governments have seemingly known more about the virus early in January and, depending on the state’s philosophy of how to handle people, state decrees have been released for guidance. For example, the New Mexico state government is much more ‘hands on’ with local issues due to the state income tax and the legal liabilities of New Mexico in running the public schools. Thus, a decree was sent from the state to close the New Mexico public schools for three weeks. Texas is a much more independent state with local government and local citizens being in control of their decision making. Due to the philosophy of Texas state government, many decisions will be made locally.
“Therefore, Muleshoe ISD will be in communication with both city and county officials in regards to the COVID19 situation. Communication will be continuing with the Muleshoe City government, Bailey County and the Bailey County DSHS Medical Director.
“We are fortunate in Muleshoe to have such great city and county officials that care about our community affairs. Also, our medical professionals in Muleshoe are topnotch and are very aware of the local healthcare situations of our citizens. We are so fortunate to live in such a great community.
“After discussions have been completed with local officials, decisions will be made with the Muleshoe ISD Board of Trustees, the school administration and input from school nurses.”