Students will not have to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) this year.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced he is waiving testing requirements for this year amid the coronavirus concern, according to a news release from the governor’s office. The governor is also asking the Department of Education to forgo federal requirements.

"Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty, and their families," said Governor Abbott. "We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19."

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath said the state is facing an “unprecedented public health challenge” and realizes that with students out of school it would be difficult to administer the STAAR tests.

“TEA has already waived a host of regulations, allowing schools to quickly pivot to provide instruction and support in ways they never have before,” he wrote in a release. “We are thankful for Gov. Abbott’s willingness to waive the STAAR testing requirement, as it allows schools the maximum flexibility to remain focused on public health while also investing in the capacity to support student learning remotely.”

Abbott and the Texas Education Agency are working together to help schools continue instruction remotely while schools are closed because of COVID-19, including instruction for students with special needs, the release said.

Educators have voiced their concerns about student’s academic growth during this time, Morath said.

“TEA will continue to support them in every way we can, including ensuring the availability of free tools to diagnose student learning,” he said. This will be just as necessary moving forward as it has been, so our dedicated Texas educators have the tools necessary to ensure all our students continue to grow into the best versions of themselves, both during and beyond our current public health challenge.”

The release said Monday’s actions highlight the emphasis on health and wellness.

“Superintendents should continue to prioritize the health and safety of students, faculty, and their families,” the release said. ”Their leadership is an important part of our statewide efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect public health.”

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