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TEA now under federal investigation for latest changes to public health guidance

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Posted at 7:40 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 13:00:50-04

BRAZOS VALLEY, Texas — The Texas Education Agency's most recent update to its public health guidance is raising concern from federal officials.

A federal investigation has been launched, looking into how students with disabilities are impacted by the TEA's recent changes to their public health guidance.

A Burleson County mom said she believes this investigation is in the best interest of her child's health.

“Mask mandate, I think for special education in general, should be considered at some point,” said Christine Pineda, parent of two special education students.

As a medical professional she also understands firsthand the risks her children face if they’re not careful.

”In my medical profession a lot of our patients are immunocompromised. Also students with disabilities are immunocompromised and it’s easier for them to catch it and harder for them to recover,” said Pineda.

Caldwell ISD superintendent, Andrews Peters, is calling out the TEA's completely opposite approach this school year.

”It’s really been frustrating that they feel like they need to tell us what we cannot do. Last year they were telling us what we had to do,” said Peters.

Peters said he believes these decisions should fall into the school district's hands.

“Local school boards and school administration has to make the decision on what’s best for them,” Peters said.

Peters said some students have been given the chance to continue remote learning, as they are at a high risk of contracting the virus. But for Pineda’s two girls that is just not an option.

“My children benefit better when they're in person," said Pineda. "Just because of the retention, and the visual, and the actual connection. Virtual learning was hard for my kids."

Those still receiving remote learning will not get the full experience, according to parents like Pineda.

“And they're really being robbed of an education because we’re not able to put those protections in place,” said Peters.

The TEA initially made these changes quietly to their public health guidance, but today they emailed school districts with a summary of those changes.

In summary, it states the TEA removed language not allowing enforcement of Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-38.