The annual STAAR testing set for April will not be occurring this year due school closures announced throughout Texas in light of the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement released this week, Texas Governor Greg Abott says the decision was made in order to protect students and faculty.
“Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty, and their families,” Governor Abbott said in the press release. “We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19.”
The Governor has also requested the Department of Education to waive federal testing requirements for the remainder of the school year.
Soon after Governor Abbot’s announcement, Mike Morath, the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, said that his agency is thankful for the Governor’s decision. “This year, though, it has become apparent that schools will be unable to administer STAAR as they would normally. TEA has already waived a host of regulations, allowing schools to quickly pivot to provide instruction and support in ways they never have before,” Morath said in a statement. “We are thankful for Governor Abbott’s willingness to waive the STAAR testing requirement, as it allows schools the maximum flexibility to remain focused on public health while also investing in the capacity to support student learning remotely.”
The decision to waive the STAAR tests is one of many initiatives the state of Texas has rolled out in recent weeks aimed at combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus including school closures. The Houston Independent School District (HISD) and 30 other area school districts and campuses have shut their doors through April 10.
Governor Abbott is working with the Texas Educational Agency to find ways to continue delivering education to students in light of school closures. With the end of the current school year coming up soon, it’s imperative that students are prepared for the next grade level by the time the next school year arrives.The Texas Educational Agency has set up a coronavirus information page to keep schools and families up to date with the latest information.