Coronavirus: what you should know


Help us put a face to the COVID-19 crisis by taking our workplace safety survey and emailing us your pictures.

Information and Resources

We’ve assembled resources for Texas educators, support professionals, and other school employees about the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. However, we really want to hear from you. If you have a specific experience you’d like to share about how you are helping your community cope with the pandemic, or would like to spotlight the good work your fellow members are doing in these challenging times, please email covid@tsta.org.

TSTA members are on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis and deserve respect, and respect means a safe workplace and the ability to protect and take care of our families. See the document we’ve put together on our standards for safe schools and a flyer in both English and Spanish, and NEA’s guidance and member webinar on reopening school buildings.

This Q&A from TSTA’s Legal Division explains the Americans with Disabilities Act and when members with underlying illnesses may request reasonable accommodations under that Act. If, after reviewing this Q&A, you believe you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation, please contact the TSTA Help Center at 877-ASK-TSTA (877-275-8782).
TSTA’s Q&A
NEA’s ADA presentation
NEA webinar Q&A
ADA COVID medical provider note template

NEA Research launched a site where educators and members of the public can report COVID-19 cases and health and safety issues in schools. State-level reports include COVID-19 cases that have been verified through public sources (e.g., news articles, district websites). Health and safety whistleblower reports are sent to NEA’s Office of the General Counsel for processing and follow-up.

To support action at the local level, the Center for Organizing and Education Policy and Practice developed Ensuring Safe and Just Schools During COVID-19: A Roadmap that is now online. The Roadmap provides local affiliates with 12 action steps they could take with allies to navigate the reopening and closure of schools in their communities, and to drive action toward school boards. The multi-step approach is comprehensive and designed so that affiliates can pick and choose from tools so that the affiliate’s roadmap works best for the context and community. As members and families engage with school boards, a local-level call to action has now been added to the suite of potential actions on www.nea.org/covidaction calling on people to contact their school boards: www.nea.org/openletter. NEA would also like members to share their stories about dealing with the reopening, and has a form you can use to share your fellow member’s story if you know of someone who has been harmed by being required to go back to in-person instruction without sufficient health and safety protections in place. 

Virtual Organizing Guide: The NEA has developed the following guidance to assist our local affiliates’ ability to organize during a time of social distancing.  This organizing toolkit will provide support for your affiliates’ ability to continue organizing members during the pandemic, including access to alternative forms of contact with new and returning potential members at their worksite or homes.

This document (download) provides language from COVID-19 MOUs that have been negotiated by locals that are affiliated with NEA and other education unions. While not intended to offer model or suggested language, the MOUs provide a good representation of the issues that are being negotiated and how those issues are being resolved through collective bargaining. They are also demonstrative of the important role unions play in using collective bargaining to give educators a voice in critically important decisions.

When students return to learning this fall (whether in-person, virtually, or a mix of both), many will bring with them the effects of trauma, most will have fallen behind academically, and an increased number may drop out. This pandemic, like so many other disasters, has disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities. To avoid further exacerbating the deep inequities in our education system, we must prepare to address the needs of students when they return to school. The Rennie Center’s Back-to-School Blueprint is an interactive series of research-based, online action guides to help schools prepare to support students this school year. Each guide includes a series of priority practices for educators to keep in mind as they plan for the future along with a list of action steps to implement the practice. They also include research, videos, and other key resources educators can use.

Remote literacy learning resources for educators and families, as well as integrating across content areas.

Classroom setup and hygiene guidance.

A mighty list of information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020:

Here’s our one-stop page for TEA COVID-19 documents, including their COVID-19 support and guidance page, planned allotments of personal protective equipment for districts and the public school case reporting guidelines.

A list of college and university reopening plans.

The National Education Association’s Covid resource page.

The National Education Association is offering Micro-credentials to Work on During Social Distancing and Member Assistance Programs and Services, as well as some tips on what you should know about schools and the coronavirus. You can also find NEA’s position on issues affecting students and educators.

NEA also releases a monthly report on presidential candidate positions.
Spotlight on COVID-19
Spotlight on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Spotlight on reopening
Spotlight on economic recovery
Spotlight on the economy

COVID-19 and T-TESS

It is an undeniably strange time to be starting up a school year. There is the barest of good news in that TEA is suspending the use of STAAR for grade advancement purposes. So far the test will still be administered for the purpose of the A-F campus and district accountability scheme and T-TESS assessments. TSTA will continue to fight to have STAAR suspended altogether as a wasteful expenditure of time and money and a cruel source of stress and distraction in an already challenging time.

COVID slide: how financial insecurity causes vulnerable students to lose ground academically

Some Red Cross tips for keeping safe and healthy, and a sad reminder that we also have to be mindful of coronavirus email scams.

Texas Department of State Health Services Resources on COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control has issued Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs.

The Teacher Retirement System has issued both written and video responses to COVID-19, including their extended COVID-19 coverage. There is also guidance available pertaining to Operations, Health Care and Annuities.

9 Strategies for Quarantining in a Non-LGBTQ+ Affirming Environment

Distance learning

Click here for a list of resources.

Special education

Provision of Special Education Services during COVID-19 School Closures

Urging States to Continue Educating Students with Disabilities, Secretary DeVos Publishes New Resource on Accessibility and Distance Learning Options

CDC: Questions and answers on providing services to children with disabilities during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak

TEA: Special Education and Special Populations

National, state, and local news

Articles are added to Education News.

TSTA press releases can be found in our Pressroom.