HPISD Trustees Talk TEA Waivers For Inclement Weather Days

The Highland Park ISD board of trustees Tuesday approved submitting a waiver to the Texas Education Agency for the Feb. 11 virtual learning day because of inclement weather.

The district moved to virtual learning Feb. 11, was closed for both remote and in-person learning Tuesday and remains so Wednesday because of widespread power outages, record-low temperatures, and hazardous road conditions.

“It appears now there are three types of waivers the district can apply for — the first is the standard waiver for excess inclement weather days, and that’s the waiver that says if you use the makeup days and you do have school for those and you use any excess minutes that you have, then you can apply to the state and ask them to waive additional inclement weather days,”  Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said. “This year for the first time because of the pandemic and because most districts have virtual learning availabilities, there is a process by which you can request a waiver from the state for an inclement weather closing if you have virtual learning, and if you are approved for those, then you would be in a position where you would not necessarily need to make up your inclement weather days that have been put in the calendar.”

Thirdly, Trigg said, because of the recent record-breaking winter storm, TEA is authorizing up to three days that can be waived prior to using excess minutes or makeup days.

TEA deputy chief of staff Alejandro Delgado provided guidance for school districts Monday morning as power outages continued to mount.

In that guidance, the TEA said that if a district must close completely because of electrical outages, they “are eligible to apply for a missed school day waiver following the event for a maximum of 3 days without make-up required or having to utilize bad weather days.”

“That gives us further flexibility as we work through how we’re going to handle the makeup or not makeup of these days,” Trigg said. “We continue to work with TEA. We will be coming up with a plan of how to utilize at least two of those three types of waivers. Our goal obviously is, if we can have virtual learning, we want to do that when we’re closed.”

Districts that have power were encouraged to use virtual instruction if weather conditions were unsafe for travel.

Trigg said virtual learning wasn’t possible Tuesday or Wednesday because of rolling blackouts and the district will evaluate the situation on a daily basis.

In other news, the board:

  • Approved a resolution authorizing continuing payments for those employees unable to work remotely during virtual learning days.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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