2023 Hurricane Season Preparations

Date:  August 24, 2023
Subject: 2023 Hurricane Season Preparations
Category: Commissioner
Next Steps:  Share with appropriate Staff


The purpose of this communication is to provide information related to the 2023 hurricane season for local educational agencies (LEAs). The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will work with your LEA and regional education service center (ESC) to ensure students and staff are safe, policies and processes from the agency are clear, and the recovery—if needed—is efficient and effective. 

Just a reminder, in keeping with best practice for operational planning for school systems, it is most prudent to adopt a school calendar that is reflective of our current times. Given the potential need to close for viral spread, flooding, icy roads in the north, or hurricanes along the gulf coast, it is expected that adopted calendars reflect a reasonable built-in cushion to accommodate these potential closures. Future waiver decisions will be made within the context of how well the local planning process played out to build these cushions. 

The following table outlines important information for LEAs related to critical next steps, how to communicate with TEA, and key preparedness resources: 

Critical Steps for LEAs to Take Now

  1. Actively and frequently communicate with your staff and families. 
  2. Identify and update your LEA’s protocols related to decision-making, communication, and staff roles and responsibilities. 
  3. Make sure you are receiving information from—and are able to communicate with—the Texas Department of Emergency Management, your local emergency management authority, and your Regional Education Service Center. 
  4. Review and update your LEA’s procurement policies to ensure flexibility and compliance with state and federal guidelines. 
  5. Review and update your LEA’s insurance policies to ensure comprehensive coverage and alignment with relevant LEA policies and procedures. 
  6. Should your LEA be impacted by the storm, document all disaster response-related expenses immediately. 

What You Can Expect From TEA Related to Communication 

How to Communicate with TEA Next Steps for the LEA
Commissioner Morath’s Superintendent Hotline is available to superintendents—a TEA staff member will answer.  Only current superintendents may use the Superintendent Hotline. If you do not know the number, please email safeschools@tea.texas.gov
Via email to safeschools@tea.texas.gov For less urgent questions or requests, please email safeschools@tea.texas.gov and make sure this email is approved by your spam filters. 
An important responsibility of TEA is to report any LEA impact to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM). Your local ESCs are responsible for communicating to TEA any school closings or related disaster information. Please ensure you are communicating with your ESC and that you maintain up-to-date contact information with your ESC’s leadership.


Key Resources to Assist with Hurricane Season Preparation

Resource How to Access
Texas Department of Emergency Management https://tdem.texas.gov
FEMA Hurricane Planning and Response https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/risk-management/hurricanes 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/index.html