x
Breaking News
More () »

Austin's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Austin, Texas | KVUE.com

Hundreds of COVID-19 violations reported in Texas schools

In the Austin area, the Texas State Teachers Association said Pflugerville ISD and Austin ISD received the most complaints.

AUSTIN, Texas — While school has only been in session for a couple of weeks for most districts, members of the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) have reported hundreds of coronavirus safety guideline violations.

In an online survey, 664 members from 135 districts around the state reported a variety of deficiencies.

"The biggest issue our members are raising involves inadequate accommodations for high-risk employees or those with high-risk dependents at home," said TSTA President Ovidia Molina. "These teachers with underlying health conditions should be allowed to teach remotely from home, but in many cases, they are being required to teach from their classrooms or risk losing their jobs."

Among physical conditions in Texas school, other common issues reported include problems with ventilation and social distancing in classrooms. According to the TSTA, many buildings have inadequate HVAC systems and some have sealed windows, preventing the fresh-air ventilation that health experts recommend as a preventive measure against COVID-19.

"Other major concerns are inadequate staffing to carry out the new safety measures and inadequate, short-sighted sick leave policies that discourage anyone from staying home," Molina said. "Consider these problems together, and we can see that some districts are not committed to keeping potentially sick employees from coming to work, where they could infect other employees and students." 

Other common violations were due to small classrooms, inadequate PPE and sanitation supplies and violations to the governor's mask order in schools.

Here are the numbers of violations of safety issues reported by TSTA members:

  • Non-compliance with mask mandate – 246
  • Inadequate classroom social distancing – 385
  • Inadequate ventilation or ventilation equipment – 401
  • Inadequate protective supplies (masks, etc.) – 357
  • Inadequate access to cleaning/sanitation supplies – 243
  • Insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members – 435
  • Lack of school quarantine space or process – 247
  • Inadequate or inequitable availability of distance-learning resources for students – 238
  • Inadequate district sick leave policies – 337
  • Inadequate mitigation policies for lunch or transportation – 255
  • Lack of health/safety policy enforcement – 268
  • Insufficient staffing for new measures and protocols – 370

"In Austin, we received the most complaints about Pflugerville and Austin ISD, where we have a significant number of members," a spokesperson for the TSTA said.

Below are local complaints by district:

Austin ISD

  • Non-compliance with mask mandates – 4 
  • Inadequate classroom social distancing] – 6 
  • Inadequate ventilation or ventilation equipment – 11 
  • Inadequate protective supplies (masks, face shields, plexiglass, ventilation, etc.) – 6 
  • Inadequate access to cleaning/sanitation supplies – 5 
  • Insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members – 12 
  • Lack of school quarantine space or process – 4 
  • Inadequate or inequitable availability of distance-learning resources or support for students – 4  
  • Inadequate district sick leave policies – 12 
  • Inadequate mitigation policies for lunch or transportation – 2 
  • Lack of health/safety policy enforcement – 4 
  • Insufficient staffing for new measures and protocols – 13

Pflugerville ISD

  • Inadequate protective supplies (masks, face shields, plexiglass, ventilation, etc.) – 31 
  • Inadequate access to cleaning/sanitation supplies – 22 
  • Insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members – 31 
  • Lack of school quarantine space or process – 22 
  • Inadequate or inequitable availability of distance-learning resources or support for students – 16  
  • Inadequate district sick leave policies – 32 
  • Inadequate mitigation policies for lunch or transportation – 28
  • Lack of health/safety policy enforcement – 22
  • Insufficient staffing for new measures and protocols – 32

Bastrop ISD

  • Non-compliance with mask mandates – 5 
  • Inadequate classroom social distancing – 4 
  • Inadequate ventilation or ventilation equipment – 2 
  • Inadequate protective supplies (masks, face shields, plexiglass, ventilation, etc.) – 4 
  • Inadequate access to cleaning/sanitation supplies – 2 
  • Insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members – 4 
  • Lack of school quarantine space or process – 3 
  • Inadequate or inequitable availability of distance-learning resources or support for students – 2  
  • Inadequate district sick leave policies – 3 
  • Inadequate mitigation policies for lunch or transportation – 2 
  • Lack of health/safety policy enforcement – 2 
  • Insufficient staffing for new measures and protocols – 2

Leander ISD

  • Non-compliance with mask mandates – 1 
  • Inadequate classroom social distancing – 4 
  • Inadequate ventilation or ventilation equipment – 4 
  • Inadequate protective supplies (masks, face shields, plexiglass, ventilation, etc.) – 4 
  • Inadequate access to cleaning/sanitation supplies – 1 
  • Insufficient accommodations for high-risk school employees or family members – 4 
  • Lack of school quarantine space or process – 0 
  • Inadequate or inequitable availability of distance-learning resources or support for students – 1  
  • Inadequate district sick leave policies – 3 
  • Inadequate mitigation policies for lunch or transportation – 1 
  • Lack of health/safety policy enforcement – 0 
  • Insufficient staffing for new measures and protocols – 1

"All these issues reinforce TSTA’s warnings," Molina said. "The State of Texas has been in too big a hurry to reopen school buildings. Texas isn’t back to normal yet, and no amount of premature school openings is going to change that. We hope we haven’t prolonged the day when we can think about being normal again."

PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING:

City of Austin considers making Trail of Lights 2020 a drive-thru event

City of San Antonio says they're not ordered to bring Chick-fil-A to the airport, despite Paxton’s statement

Dell Technologies preparing for job cuts, report states