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Dear, Governor Greg Abbott, Judge Clay Jenkins, Mayor Eric Johnson, Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, and Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath:
As the return to school looms and our war against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) still rages in the City of Dallas, the state of Texas and across the country, we call upon our leaders to take decisive action to halt the rising tide of the virus, protect the health and safety of our children and communities, and ensure that all children in the state of Texas have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. We call upon Governor Abbott and the Executive Branch of the State of Texas to:
- Delay mandatory in-person class-based learning in Texas until after January 28, 2021, through executive order.
- Work with TEA to ensure Texas School districts are funded at 2019-2020 levels, and that funding is not vulnerable to lower in-person attendance by students.
- Ensure that the Texas Education Agency provides full funding for public schools and districts through the 2020-2021 academic year and support districts, campuses, educators, students, and families reliant upon remote-only learning or mixed learning to keep them safe.
- Call an emergency legislative session for the purposes of funding Texas Public Schools through 2023. This will provide Texas school districts an opportunity to plan operations without concerns for immediate state funding needs.
- Establish an advisory committee, through executive order, to study the impacts of COVID-19 on the operation of Texas Public School districts; recommend an emergency plan for School management; and analyze state school district's capacity for provision of quality public education through digital format, and make recommendations for improvement.
We call upon local leadership in the county and municipal governments, particularly the County of Dallas and the City of Dallas, TX to:
Work with key local information and technology stakeholders to build the necessary infrastructure for a municipal wireless network to provide free mobile wireless broadband connectivity to the residents and public school students of Dallas County and the City of Dallas, TX.
We call upon local school leaders to:
- Call upon Governor Abbott and TEA to delay mandatory in-person class-based learning in Texas until after January 28, 2021 through executive order.
- Call upon local leadership in the county and municipal governments to work with key local information and technology stakeholders to build infrastructure for a municipal wireless network and the provision of free, high-quality internet access to the residents and public school students of Dallas County.
- Require that all district staff follow CDC guidelines for schools, which stress the importance of handwashing, physical distancing, and cloth face coverings. All staff and students must wear face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not possible.
Incorporate equity as a component in the district's short-term and long-term recovery plans.
- Identify learning gaps and instructional placement of students.
- Maintain the provision of mental health services, special education services, and meals for students and families.
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