Texas will enable colleges to be online-only via November because the state passes 300,000 coronavirus instances

Medical students and staff members on the COVID-19 ward at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas gather to go over patients’ status at the start of their shift, July 1, 2020.

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Texas schools may be allowed to start in-person as late as November, according to the new guidelines issued by the Texas Education Agency announced Friday. 

These new guidelines extend the state’s original announcement early July that said school districts will be able to delay in-person instruction up to the first three weeks of the academic year. 

California, too, mandated Friday that a number of districts may not reopen in the fall for in-person classes.

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Schools in Texas may not have to resume in-person classes until November.

According to new guidelines issued by the Texas Education Agency Friday, schools will have the option to delay in-person courses for up to the first four weeks of school, and this delayed period can be extended by another set of four weeks with the vote of the school board.

The starting date for the school year depends on the district. Dallas County mandated Thursday that public and private schools must delay in-person instruction until after Labor Day, which means with the added guidelines from the state, schools could start in-person teaching as late as early November. Schools in Houston won’t begin classes at all until September 8.


Additionally, the new guidelines state that high schools may offer “a less than daily on campus instructional experience,” suggesting that schools may adopt a hybrid model, which combines in-person and online teaching. A number of school districts across the country, including New York City’s school system, have announced plans for hybrid learning models. 

These new guidelines in Texas extend the state’s original announcement from early July that said school districts will be able to delay in-person instruction up to the first three weeks of the academic year. 

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The updated order comes as Texas’ coronavirus outbreak has worsened over the past several weeks. The state has experienced more than 305,000 coronavirus cases, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Business Insider’s  Rhea Mahbubani that Texas had “opened prematurely” when Gov. Greg Abbott decided to proceed with an “Open Texas” plan on May 1. Abbott has since halted reopening, as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spiked in the state.

California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced Friday that he’s delaying the in-person reopening of schools. He ordered 32 schools on the state’s county “watch list,” which tracks counties at the highest COVID-19 risk, to conduct remote learning. He said counties may be removed from the “watch list” only if they remain off the list for two consecutive weeks.

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