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Texas Schools Could Close Through the End of the Academic Year Due to Coronavirus, Official Cautions 

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Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told superintendents and lawmakers Sunday to be prepared for school district closures to potentially run through the end of the school year, the Texas Tribune reports.

Those long-term closures are especially likely in areas where the new coronavirus has spread, the commissioner also said.

The announcement comes as nearly 570 districts across the state announced they're putting off classes for a week or more to minimize the contagion of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Gov. Greg Abbott also announced Monday he's waiving requirements for this year’s STAAR exam since many schools are likely to be closed through the April testing window.

Morath said he's still leaving the call to extend closures to local superintendents, the Tribune reports, citing people on conference calls with the commissioner. He also recommended local officials warn parents soon that closures could extended longer than a week or two.

The state has already said school districts with lengthy closures may avoid financial penalties if they can show they're offering classes remotely, according to the Tribune. Even so, not all Texas schools have resources to conduct online classes, and many low-income students may not have broadband access.

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