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TEA's Morath visits College Station, tours CSCC and shares mask guidance for children in school

Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 18:42:27-04

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — School is right around the bend. For the Texas Education Agency, their goal is for all Texas children to enter school with the foundational knowledge and skills to be curious, confident, and successful learners all while being safe.

One of the agency's top leaders was in College Station Monday morning.

The TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said he's interested in the learning practices they have at the Center and wants to see how to replicate them across the state.

"I have the good fortune of having a job where every day I get to wake up and think about how to help 5 and a half million souls," Commissioner Morath said.

Making sure communities have the best resources possible for its' children... The Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, commended the Charlotte Sharp Children's Center Monday.

"I am honored to be here and see it," he said. "We wanted to see what A&M had created here. You bring together of the best intuitions in the state of Texas with skilled leaders in early childhood," Morath added.

Witnessing the state of the art facilities, instruction, and collaboration between the Texas A&M University System and the Children's Center, Commissioner Morath was pleased with what he saw.

"One of the things you see here is extremely rare in most pre-k settings is the focus on teacher development, teacher training, you can actually walk behind double paned-glass, listen to what's happening in the classroom and see practice that is happening in real-time," Morath added.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp is pleased to see the center named after his late wife Charlotte, doing exactly what Commissioner Morath is talking about.

"I think she would be pleased with what this Center is doing. What's happening with these children here is really amazing. As I see 4-year-olds reading... It's an amazing place," Chancellor Sharp said.

The first day of school is nearing and another topic being highly discussed is masking up or not. Commissioner Morath says that decision is something that is up to families themselves.

"The school environment is extremely safe in schools all over the state of Texas. I think some parents are wrestling with "Do I make my child wear a mask or don't I?" I think that's a decision each family needs to make and what they think is in the best interest of their own kids," Morath added.

He also says that wearing masks could hinder the educational experience.

"When you think about children this young, being able to see people vocalize, it tends to be pretty important as part of the educational experience," Morath said.

With recently released TEA guidance, there has been some confusion about what information will be shared from the school to parents. But Commissioner Morath states schools will follow the same protocols they did last school year.

"There has been some misinterpretation I have seen fairly common about notice requirements... All students in the state of Texas if they begin to exhibit symptoms of any commutable disease covid included, parents are immediately informed. Similarly, if a student is in a classroom setting close contact with another student, those parents are also informed," he said.