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Q:       A member of the community notified our school district of a rumor that one of the school board candidates, who filed an application for a place on the ballot, has a criminal background. Is our school district required to conduct background checks on every candidate or otherwise research every rumor to determine a...
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Q:       Nearly all our teachers have performed some type of virtual instruction in addition to standard face-to-face instruction this school year. Should we evaluate our employees on both virtual and in-person instruction?  A:        Yes, the Texas Education Code mandates that the teacher appraisal criteria be based on observable, job-related behavior including implementation of...
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Q:        Our school district wants all of our employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. May we ask our employees whether they have been vaccinated?  A:        Yes. School districts, however, must be very careful when questioning employees about their vaccination status not to request or provide an opportunity for explanation, as such might elicit...
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Q:        Our district had several new teachers obtain probationary certification this past summer pursuant to TEA’s waiver of certain certification requirements. The employees’ probationary certification is set to expire in August, and they have not yet passed their content exams. Can we renew their employment?  A:        Yes, you can renew the employees’ probationary contracts; however,...
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Q:        With the issuance of Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34 lifting the statewide face mask mandate, effective March 10, 2021, our district is quickly trying to revamp our COVID-19 mitigation strategies. We are closely reviewing both CDC and updated TEA guidance, but in addition to that, do you know if the UIL has published any...
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Q:       An anonymous requestor submitted a request pursuant to the Public Information Act for communications between two District administrators. May the District require the requestor to present identification before obtaining the requested information?  A:        Generally, no. A school district cannot unilaterally refuse to provide information simply because a requestor does not identify him/herself or...
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Q:       In response to winter storm that recently impacted Texas, my district closed for 5 days and offered virtual instruction for 2 days the following week. Can I pay all employees during the period of closure—what about the virtual instruction days? A:        Yes. The Board of Trustees can adopt a resolution that it...
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Q:        A teacher on our elementary campus tested positive for COVID-19. During our contract tracing process, one employee who was in close contact with the teacher notified us that she is fully vaccinated. Does the vaccinated employee still need to quarantine?  A:        No. The CDC recently released guidance providing that individuals who have been fully...
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Q:       More virtual students are returning to campus who don’t understand our neutral face mask policy. Yesterday a student wore a mask with a “Black Lives Matter” slogan. He was provided an alternative, but the parent complained. Can the district ban face masks with images, words, or political slogans? A:        Yes. Generally speaking,...
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Q:        Our success rate for virtual learners continues to decline. Can a student’s inability to access virtual learning, unrelated to technological barriers, trigger the District’s child find duty?  A:         Yes. Educators play a key role in the child find process, as they are often the first to notice signs that a student is...
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