Due to the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many local governments are releasing orders that affect homeschooling. We’re following those changes here so that you can continue to homeschool in these difficult times.

Here’s how the Texas statewide and local executive orders affect homeschool families, groups, and co-ops.

How do Statewide Mask Orders Affect Homeschoolers?

How Coronavirus Orders Affect Homeschoolers

Families are not required to wear masks at home while homeschooling. However, Texas’s mandated mask order does affect homeschool co-ops and groups.

The order states, “Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public…”

Exemptions:

  • Homeschool co-ops or support groups that meet in a private home would be exempt from the mask order.
  • “Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged.” Some co-ops could be exempt from the mask order if they are religiously oriented and actively engaged in religious worship.

How Do Local School Orders Affect My Family?

Some Texas cities have released orders impacting public and private school decisions such as reopening in person for the fall semester.

In Texas, homeschools are considered a type of private school but are differentiated from other private schools because the schooling is taking place in and through the home.

Homeschool co-ops and support groups that meet outside of the home may fall within groups affected by some local orders.

Austin-Travis County

On July 14, 2020, the Austin-Travis County Health Authority issued an order stating that,

“all public and private schools… shall not reopen schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after September 7, 2020…”

The order also restricts schools from organizing any extracurricular activities or other school sponsors events.

As written, this order would not impact schooling in or through a home but would apply to homeschool co-ops and support groups that meet outside of the home.

Exemptions

  • These orders do not affect those who are conducting all classes in or through their homes.
  • Homeschool co-ops and support groups that are religiously oriented are exempt from all local orders seeking to restrict in-person instruction by schools.

Dallas County

On July 16, 2020, the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department issued a nearly identical order stating that “all public and private schools… shall not reopen schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after September 7, 2020…”

As written this order would not impact schooling in or through a home but would apply to homeschool co-ops and support groups.

Exemptions

  • These orders do not affect those who are conducting all classes in or through their homes.
  • Homeschool co-ops and support groups that are religiously oriented are exempt from all local orders seeking to restrict in-person instruction by schools.

Religious Exemption:

On July 17, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a letter clarifying that these local orders do not apply to religious schools, which are considered “essential” under Governor Abbott’s executive order.

Therefore, homeschool co-ops and support groups that are religiously oriented are exempt from all local orders seeking to restrict in-person instruction by schools.

Stay Informed

THSC will continue to monitor coronavirus-related orders as they develop.

Regardless of COVID-19, together, we’ll continue to serve the ever-growing homeschool community and assist the thousands of new families beginning their homeschooling journey as a result of the coronavirus.