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TEA: Students must take STAAR tests on campus

Students must take STAAR tests on campus
Posted at 8:10 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 21:10:40-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With students preparing to take their STAAR tests later this spring, there will be no online alternative for parents who don't want to send their children back to school over COVID-19 concerns.

The Texas Education Agency announced Friday that students will have to take the standardized tests in person under the supervision of a test administrator.

A parent and a student at Evans Elementary School in Corpus Christi were happy to hear the news.

“I’d rather do it in class, because you can focus on it more," fifth grader Sofia Rivas said.

“It’s better for them to be in close proximity to their teachers, because I think there’s a disconnect through a screen," parent Marcos Gonzales said.

While he supports the TEA's decision, Gonzales also understands the concerns that some parents likely have.

"There’s a lot of kids who are high risk and a lot of reasons why a parent would be over-protective," he said. "I mean, I understand the importance of the STAAR test, but I also don’t feel that forcing children to go back when there’s such a risk is necessary."

The local teacher's union agrees with that sentiment.

"It’s not worth the risk and the danger," Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers President Nancy Vera said. "And it’s certainly not worth the risk and the danger to our teachers and our school personnel.”

Reaction to the STAAR guidelines was positive and unified between two Coastal Bend school districts.

The Corpus Christi Independent School District was particularly fond of the TEA's decision to allow the testing to take place over a three month period enabling schools to keep students socially distanced in testing rooms.

The district said in a statement: "CCISD is developing a spring testing plan that will meet state and federal guidelines, while maintaining all public health protocols. The TEA’s scheduled testing windows will provide flexibility to campuses so they may schedule students who have been learning on campus – as well as those who have been learning remotely – for their proctored tests, while ensuring parents feel safe sending students to campus."

The secretary for the Calallen Independent School District superintendent also released a statement in reaction to the STAAR guidelines.

"He {Dr. Arturo Almendrez} believes the TEA mandate is correct and it’s a way to insure fairness and testing," the statement read. "Those students that have been virtual up to now will have safe accommodations to return testing at that time."