KBS Reference Desk: When do Virtual Board Meetings End

Q:        What is the current status of school board meetings in Texas—may we continue to hold our board meetings remotely? If so, for how long?

A:        Yes, at this time, school boards may continue to hold board meetings via remote methods, such as videoconference or telephonic meetings; however, the ability to do so is dependent on the continued existence of a valid emergency declaration, and the current declaration is set to expire on July 5, 2021, unless extended by the Texas Governor.

 In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Texas Governor issued a disaster declaration for all Texas counties aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans and ensuring an effective response to the pandemic. Importantly, among the various executive orders was the suspension of numerous statutory provisions that compel physical interaction between persons. This suspension included provisions in the Texas Open Meetings Act (“TOMA”) that require the general public and a quorum of the school board to be together in the same location. With these provisions suspended, school boards, for the first time, were allowed to hold board meetings by way of telephonic and videoconference meetings, so long as they complied with the other mandates in the Act that are not subject to the suspension.

Since the initial suspension in March 2020, the Governor has issued a new proclamation each month to renew the disaster declaration for all Texas counties, thereby extending the above-mentioned TOMA suspensions. Although the disaster declaration does not include a specific expiration date, under Texas law, it may not continue for more than 30 days, unless renewed by the Governor. Therefore, the most recent declaration issued on June 4, 2021, it is set to expire on July 5, 2021, absent renewal by the Governor.

It is unclear whether the Governor will continue to renew the disaster declaration in July or otherwise terminate the TOMA suspensions, but in any event, the declaration will be lifted at some point or expire by operation of law. When that happens, and absent some new proclamation or law to the contrary, Texas school boards will no longer be allowed to hold board meetings remotely. The Governor’s proclamations can be located here. For specific questions or additional information regarding the disaster declaration or remote board meetings, please contact your local school law attorney.

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: Accelerated and Supplemental Instruction HB 4545
September 17, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Active Threat Excercises
September 10, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: HB 1927 Firearms
September 3, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Remote Participation in Board Meetings
August 27, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Waiving Minimum Attendance Requirements for Seriously Ill Students
August 20, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Inquiring About Vaccine Status
August 13, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Temporary Suspension of TPIA due to Catastrophe
August 6, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Standard for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
July 30, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Bullying Policies and Reporting SB 2050
July 23, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Homeschoolers and UIL
July 16, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Suspension Extension
July 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Revision to Resignation without Penalty Deadline
July 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: SB 179 School Counselors
June 25, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: 2021 TRS Surcharge SB 202
June 18, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Buy American Program
June 4, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Board Member with Substantial Interest Closed Meeting Attendance
May 28, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Administrator Reassignments – Same Professional Capacity
May 21, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccine Complications and FFCRA
May 14, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Importance of Contract Legal Review
May 7, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Negotiating Resignations
April 30, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Authority to Create New Position
April 23, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccine Incentive Programs for Employees
April 16, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Felony Conviction and School Board Candidates
April 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: T-TESS Rubric Virtual
April 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: COVID-19 Vaccination Status Questions and EEO Laws
March 26, 2021