TEA Commissioner visits Charlotte Sharp Children’s Center, discusses new COVID guidelines

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Monday morning Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath visited College Station’s Charlotte Sharp Children’s center.

The purpose of the visit was to tour the center and to witness their unique ability to teach children, train teachers and how they have benefited from partnering with Texas A&M University.

However, with the recent COVID-19 guidance from TEA, many worry about the center’s safety.

The new guidelines say school districts in Texas will not be required to do contact tracing this year if a student contracts COVID-19 or enforce mask usage. As a parent himself, Morath understands the concerns parents are facing when deciding whether to send their child to school with a mask or not.

“I do it with my own kids, I understand what the evidence shows and the evidence was remarkably clear, school was a very safe place for kids last year,” said Morath.

The Charlotte Sharp Children’s Center is one of many this school year that will not be requiring face coverings.

“We have not worn masks here because we work with children ages 2 through 6 and they read our emotions, our approval,” said Center Director Vicki Gibson. “They need to be learning our English language.”

Morath believes school is safe, with or without masks.

“The likelihood of an individual who has the virus in a school potentially transmitting to others and it very rarely occurred last year,” said the Commissioner. “That occurred in Texas at an elementary school level where there was a variety of masking practices.”

The TEA will allow schools to rapid test and will provide students 20 days of remote learning if they test positive for the virus. In addition, parents are allowed to keep their kids home for 10 days if they think they came into contact with the virus.

“One of the key things that we do to ensure school is safe is making sure that individuals who either have the virus or are likely to be in a position to spread it simply aren’t in the school building,” said Morath.

The TEA is closely monitoring the health and safety of schools and will update guidelines accordingly.

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