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Statement(s) on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)      
Please see the statement(s) below from the Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, and the Texas FFA Foundation regarding this unprecedented COVID-19 situation. More information and details will be shared as it is available.

5.29.20      

Conference Status Update

The Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT) has been in communication with the City of Waco and the Waco Convention Center regarding the 2020 ATAT Professional Development Conference scheduled to take place July 27-31, 2020, in Waco, Texas. At this time, the proposed Convention Center capacity restrictions and safety requirements have not been approved by the city; however, even the proposed maximum capacity restrictions will not allow ATAT to effectively host our Professional Development Conference in person. 


In spite of the best efforts by ATAT staff, ATAT Officers, ATAT Board of Directors and our host city partners to prepare and seek alternatives, more information and time is needed before state-mandates will allow a conference of our size to occur in the center. 


Your elected Executive Committee members, composed of the five officers and a representative from each area, met on May 28 to discuss the situation in Waco. With the current limitations of the center and the desire to maintain the health and safety of our members, the executive committee voted to not hold the conference in Waco.


This means that the Professional Development Conference will move to an online format for 2020.


We see an online conference as an opportunity to provide quality content that may be accessed at times other than strictly the conference week (July 27-31). Workshops will be recorded and stored so you may access them throughout the entire year to use for training. We are confident you will see the added value of having this year round access to the one-of-a-kind professional development that ATAT Conference is known to provide.


Conference Costs

The cost of the conference will remain the same as previous years at $300. This price is set in our association by-laws. As a reminder, in addition to paying for your conference experience this fee provides access to all of the benefits of membership throughout the school year, including access to legal advice and liability insurance. Your school districts will experience significant savings without lodging, meal, and travel expenses.


Hotel Reservation Next Steps

If you have hotel reservations in the ATAT Block at the Hilton or Courtyard, your reservations will automatically be canceled by the hotel. You do not need to contact the Hilton or Courtyard.  If you made hotel reservations in Waco at another hotel, you will need to contact your hotel to cancel those reservations. We recommend doing this right away. 


Want more information?

We are excited to take on the challenge of our first online professional development conference and believe it will still be a great event to enhance teaching methods, keep up with developments in curriculum, learn more about industry-based student certifications, and celebrate the success and achievements of our members. With that in mind, see the tentative abbreviated schedule at the end of this email. 


Additional information about the online conference will be shared as details are finalized by the ATAT Staff, ATAT Officers, and ATAT Board of Directors. We appreciate your patience as we make this shift in conference format and look forward to answering all your questions soon. 


Please continue to stay well and to take care of one another!



Tentative Virtual Conference Schedule 

July 27-31, 2020


Monday:

Certification and Training Workshops

Exhibitor Showcase Presentations


Tuesday:

Opening Session Including Guest Speaker and Awards Recognition

Team Ag Ed Director Question and Answer Roundtable 

Area Meetings


Wednesday and Thursday:

50+ Workshops (45 and 30 Minute Lengths)


Thursday Night:

Family Night with Recognition, Outstanding Teacher Awards, Drawings, and Possible Entertainment


Friday:

Stock Show Reports

Closing Session Including Guest Speaker



5.20.2020      

The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and the Texas FFA Foundation have been in communication with the City of Dallas and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in regard to the 92nd Texas FFA Convention scheduled to take place July 6-10, 2020 in Dallas, TX. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center has informed  our staff that all events scheduled to take place in the convention center through July 15, 2020, have been canceled. This means that the Texas FFA Convention will move to an online format in 2020. More details about the new convention format will be available in the coming weeks. We are excited to take on the challenge our first online state FFA convention and believe it will still be a great event to celebrate the success and achievements of our students and chapters.

For those of you who used the Texas FFA Housing Website serviced by Orchid Events to book your hotel rooms within the official Texas FFA Hotel Block, no further action is needed. All reservations made through Orchid will be cancelled automatically. You will receive a cancellation acknowledgement email like the original reservation acknowledgement you received.  If you do not receive this cancellation acknowledgement by Tuesday, May 26, contact Orchid Events directly at 800-989-4008.

If you did not book through the official Texas FFA Hotel Block, we recommend that you contact your hotel directly and cancel your reservations as soon as possible. As you know, we cannot provide assistance for you in this matter; but we can advise that the sooner you take action to cancel your reservation, the better your chances of avoiding any penalties.

Again, more information about the online convention will be shared as details are finalized by the state FFA officers, state FFA staff, and state FFA board of directors. We appreciate your patience as we make this shift in convention format and look forward to answering all your questions soon. Please continue to stay well and to take care of one another!


5.5.2020      

Texas Team Ag Ed Statement on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

5.5.2020

The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and the Texas FFA Foundation have been continually monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Our first responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff.

Affected Operations and Events

With the announcement from Governor Greg Abbott that all Texas schools are to remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of this school year, and with limited information available regarding group gatherings, the Texas FFA Board of Directors met yesterday morning via Zoom conference call and have made the following decisions concerning Texas FFA activities scheduled after May 4, 2020:

  • Career Development Events have been canceled for the 2019-2020 year. Student access, contest integrity, availability of event providers/contributors, the quality of the contests, and uncertainty as to group gatherings and social distancing guidelines led the board to this difficult decision. In an effort to still deliver on the promise of career success opportunities to students, a board sub-committee has been formed to work with staff to coordinate learning experiences for students that focuses on different careers related to our spring competitive events. More information will be available on these opportunities as they are developed.
  • Speaking Development Event deadline extended to June 15, 2020. Students advancing from area contests will have until June 15th to register for the state-level event and upload their contest materials. Should the state-level Speaking Development Events not be able to take place in person, the board of directors, state staff, and state-level event Superintendents believe these contests can be facilitated virtually, in a manner that maintains the integrity of the event.
  • The Housing Cancellation Deadline for rooms booked within the Texas FFA Convention Housing Block has been suspended for 2020. Rooms cancelled by chapters after May 15, 2020, will notreceive a penalty of one night’s room and tax. A separate email will be sent with further information on this topic.
  • All face-to-face meetings and activities are suspended through at least June 5, 2020.

Current plans remain in place for all other Texas FFA Association events scheduled beyond June 5, 2020, this includes the Texas FFA Convention, though these activities remain subject to change as the COVID-19 situation develops. The operations of the associations remain underway, and any changes in operations or programming will be communicated with teachers and stakeholders as quickly as possible. Updates will be cataloged here.

Adapted Programs and Opportunities

To date, the following actions have been taken to adapt Texas FFA programs and opportunities:

  • Suspension of business travel for all Texas FFA state officers and Team Ag Ed staff.
  • Remote work-from-home operations for all Texas FFA state officers and Team Ag Ed staff.
  • Temporary closure of the Ford Agricultural Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center to all visitors.
  • Modifications to Texas FFA award, degree, and scholarship applications/processes have been completed to allow for online submission and evaluation of applicants.
  • An online voting platform to allow District and Area FFA Associations to accomplish their association business, officer candidate voting, and talent team selection from a distance has been created and launched.
  • The Texas FFA Foundation Ambassador application deadline has been extended until May 15, 2020
  • Ford Leadership Scholars program interviews scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, 2020, will be conducted virtually.
  • The State Leadership Conference originally scheduled for May 30-June 2, 2020, at Angelo State University has been cancelled. Texas FFA Association staff and state officers are working with Area Leadership Development Coordinators to determine the best course of action to meet the needs of the 2020-2021 Area Officers.
  • The State FFA Advanced Degree and Award Check/Texas FFA Scholarship Interviews scheduled for June 3-5, 2020, at Tarleton State University will take place virtually. Texas FFA Association staff will work with vendors, external partners, and the appropriate advisory committees to determine the best course of action to conduct these selection, evaluation, and interview processes at a distance.

We continue to encourage all local FFA chapters to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps.


5.1.2020      
The Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas is currently planning on holding our Annual Professional Development Conference in Waco, Texas July 27-31, 2020. For those who have travel restrictions that would prevent them from attending, we will provide a virtual option. If new state regulations regarding social gatherings prevent us from traveling to Waco as a group, we will offer a modified virtual conference to our agricultural science teachers. Members are advised to closely monitor emails, website and social media for updates regarding the status of our conference.

Our main responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students and their families, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff. 

We continue to encourage all agriscience teachers to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

4.24.2020      

The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and the Texas FFA Foundation have been continually monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Our first responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff.

In an effort to identify the best way to move forward on items that would otherwise occupy our spring and summer months, Texas Team Ag Ed has developed a survey for agricultural science teachers regarding Texas FFA and ATAT activities. This survey will be emailed to you separately, and we ask that one teacher from every department complete this survey to the best of your ability (multiple responses from a department will not be accepted). Your feedback is invaluable to our staff and organizational boards as we plan our new steps.

Affected Operations and Events

Since the update on April 1st, the following changes have been made to Texas FFA Association Events scheduled after May 4, 2020:

  • Ford Leadership Scholar program interviews scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, 2020 will be conducted virtually. The hotel scheduled to host the in-person selection process has canceled all events through May to enter into a contract with the City of Austin to serve as a COVID-19 isolation facility. These students have been notified of this change, and more information is forthcoming.
  • The State Leadership Conference originally scheduled for May 30-June 2, 2020, at Angelo State University has been cancelled. The Texas FFA Association was recently notified that all events on the university’s summer calendar have been canceled due to COVID-19. Texas FFA Association staff and state officers are working with Area Leadership Development Coordinators to determine the best course of action to meet the needs of the 2020-2021 Area Officers.
  • The State FFA Advanced Degree and Award Check/Texas FFA Scholarship Interviews scheduled for June 3-5, 2020, at Tarleton State University will take place virtually. The Texas FFA Association was recently notified that all events on the university’s calendar through July 15, 2020 have been canceled due to COVID-19. Texas FFA Association staff will work with vendors, external partners, and the appropriate advisory committees to determine the best course of action to conduct these selection, evaluation, and interview processes at a distance.

Current plans remain in place for all other Texas FFA Association events scheduled beyond May 4, 2020, though these activities remain subject to change as the COVID-19 situation develops. The operations of the associations remain underway, and any changes in operations or programming will be communicated with teachers and stakeholders as quickly as possible.

Adapted Programs and Opportunities

After close monitoring of the situation, to date, the following actions have been taken:

  • All district and area face-to-face meetings and activities are postponed through at least May 4, 2020(the Texas FFA Board of Directors will meet on May 4th to determine if this suspension of activities will be extended)
  • Suspension of business travel for all Texas FFA state officers and Team Ag Ed staff
  • Remote work-from-home operations for all Texas FFA state officers and Team Ag Ed staff
  • Temporary closure of the Ford Agricultural Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center to all visitors
  • Postponement of all area and state-level Career Development Events
  • Modifications to Texas FFA award, degree, and scholarship applications/processes have been completed to allow for online submission and evaluation of applicants
  • An online voting platform to allow District and Area FFA Associations to accomplish their association business, officer candidate voting, and talent team selection from a distance has been created and launched
  • The Texas FFA Foundation Ambassador application deadline has been extended until May 15, 2020

With schools no longer in session for 2019-2020, we continue to encourage all local FFA chapters to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps.


4.9.20      
The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and the Texas FFA Foundation have been consistently monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Our main responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students and their families, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff.

The health and safety of students and teachers is our top priority. Current plans remain in place for our Professional Improvement Conference scheduled for July 27-31, 2020, in Waco. We are continuing to monitor the requirements and guidelines related to COVID-19 situation in order to comply with governmental restrictions. In the event that we are not able to hold an in-person conference, we will provide learning opportunities through virtual means. The Officers, Executive Committee, staff, and AM planning will continue meeting and evaluating the best available options to provide in-service opportunities for our members. The operations of the associations remain underway, and any changes in operations or programming will be communicated with teachers and stakeholders as quickly as possible. 

We continue to encourage all agriscience teachers to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps.

Now more than ever it is our duty to lead by example.

4.1.20      

The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and the Texas FFA Foundation have been continually monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Our first responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff.

Affected Operations and Events
After close monitoring of the situation, to date, the following actions have been taken:

  • All district and area face-to-face meetings and activities are postponed through at least May 4, 2020(this decision was made to align with UIL, and aligns now with the new Executive Order from Governor Abbott to close schools in Texas until that date)
  • Suspension of business travel for all Texas FFA state officers and Team Ag Ed staff
  • Remote work-from-home operations for all Texas FFA state officers and Team Ag Ed staff
  • Temporary closure of the Ford Agricultural Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center to all visitors
  • Postponement of all area and state-level Career Development Events

Adapted Programs and Opportunities
In an effort to adjust to the fluid situation of COVID-19, the Texas FFA Board of Directors took the following action during its 3rd Quarter Meeting held remotely on Monday, March 30, 2020:

  • Texas FFA SAE-Based Award and Degree Programs & National Chapter Award
    • All student award and degree applications available through The AET will be electronically submitted by the teacher to their area coordinator for evaluation virtually.
    • Area Coordinators will work to assemble review teams for each award and degree category. Areas will have until May 25, 2020, to evaluate award and degree applications virtually and electronically submit area winners/qualifiers to the state.
    • The National Chapter Award application will be completed by the chapter and submitted to the state electronically by May 25, 2020.
  • Texas FFA Roster Awards (Golden Horizon, John Justin Standard of the West, Ryan Mott Memorial Scholarship)
    • All chapter and student award and scholarship applications available through the Texas FFA Roster system will be electronically submitted by the teacher to their area coordinator for evaluation virtually.
    • Area Coordinators will work to assemble review teams for each award category. Virtual interviews may be scheduled for the John Justin Award and Ryan Mott Memorial Scholarship. Areas will have until May 25, 2020, to evaluate award applications virtually and electronically submit area winners/qualifiers to the state.
  • Texas FFA Scholarship Program
    • The following application updates were approved:
      • Due to the COVID-19 situation, an FFA activity/participation cutoff date of December 31, 2019, has been implemented for all 2020 scholarship applicants
      • All signatures on the application will be completed electronically
      • All required documents (SAT/ACT Score Report, Official Transcript, SAR from FAFSA, Counselor Letter for Weighted Grades) will be uploaded into the application
      • All applications will be submitted electronically
    • All areas will conduct a virtual scholarship check to identify their Top 25 scholarship applicants (there will be no area-level face-to-face scholarship check).
      • New Area Scholarship Check dates will be posted ASAP, once they are submitted by each area to the state
    • Applications advancing from Area will be electronically submitted to the state by May 13, 2020.
    • State Scholarship Check will be done virtually
  • District/Area Conventions
    • With the suspension of all face-to-face activities through at least May 4, 2020, District and Area FFA Conventions may be affected. The board approved the following to assist districts and areas conduct business, elect officers, and select talent team winners:
      • Work with Wieghat Graphics to provide district/area functionality to facilitate virtual officer interviews, conduct delegate business, and facilitate the election of district/area officers
      • Functionality will be available in late April, and a series of web tutorials will be hosted for those interested in learning to utilize this functionality
  • Career Development Events
    • A special meeting of the Texas FFA Board of Directors has been set for early May, and a decision related to the execution of Career Development Events will be made at that time.

The health and safety of students and teachers is of top concern. All work on the aforementioned programs should be completed following the directives of the local school district, as well as the social distancing guidelines issued by the President of the United States, Center for Disease Control, and other local, regional and state government and health officials. This means that all work on student records and applications should be done virtually, with no face-to-face contact between students and teachers.

More information will be released in the coming days detailing these specific program delivery adaptations. For questions regarding Texas FFA Awards and Degrees, please contact Tammy Glascock at tammy@texasffa.org. For questions regarding Texas FFA Scholarships, please contact Tricia Sullivan at tricia@texasffa.org. For question regarding district/area conventions, please contact Austin Large at austin@texasffa.org.

Current plans remain in place for all other Texas FFA Association events scheduled beyond May 4, 2020, though these activities remain subject to change as the COVID-19 situation develops. The operations of the associations remain underway, and any changes in operations or programming will be communicated with teachers and stakeholders as quickly as possible. Updates will be cataloged at https://www.texasffa.org/covid-19.

We continue to encourage all local FFA chapters to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps.

 


3.20.2020      

The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and the Texas FFA Foundation have been continually monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Our first responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff.

Since the last statement on March 17th, there have been several more restrictions placed on schools, businesses, and communities by local, state, and federal government authorities. This afternoon the Texas FFA Association Board of Directors made the decision to extend the suspension of all Texas FFA Association activities through at least Monday, May 4, 2020 to align with the decision of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to extend the suspension of all UIL activities through that date.

To reiterate, here is what that means:

• All district and area face-to-face meetings should be postponed through at least May 4, 2020.

• No travel for state FFA officers and staff except in approved, necessary instances through at least April 10, 2020 (to be reevaluated at the Texas FFA Board of Directors Meeting).

• Remote work for the Texas FFA Association, ATAT, and Texas FFA Foundation Staff starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020 for at least two weeks (to be reevaluated at the Texas FFA Board of Directors Meeting).

• Closure of the Ford Agricultural Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center to all visitors beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 through at least April 10, 2020 (to be reevaluated at the Texas FFA Board of Directors Meeting).

• Postponement of the Ford Leadership Scholars banquet, originally scheduled for March 29, 2020.

• The Texas FFA Association Board of Directors will meet remotely for their 3rd Quarter Meeting scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2020.

• The Texas FFA Foundation Board of Directors will meet remotely for their 1st Quarter Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

• Postponement of all area and state level career development events.

Texas Team Ag Ed Staff is working quickly to try and address these rapid and fluid changes to the situation. We hope to be able to communicate plans and resources to district and area leaders soon! Current plans remain in place for all other Texas FFA Association events scheduled beyond May 4, 2020, though these activities remain subject to change as the COVID-19 situation develops. Texas Team Ag Ed is monitoring the situation and will make programmatic adjustments as needed. The operations of the associations remain underway, and any changes in operations or programming will be communicated with teachers and stakeholders as quickly as possible.

We continue to encourage all local FFA chapters to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. Please continue to monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps.


3.17.2020      
The Texas FFA Association, Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (ATAT), and Texas FFA Foundation have been continually monitoring the spread of COVID-19. Our first responsibility remains the health and safety of everyone involved with agricultural education in Texas – including students, advisors, chaperones, stakeholders and staff.

Since last Wednesday, there have been a number of developments in regard to the COVID-19 situation across the nation and in the state of Texas. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially classified COVID-19 as a pandemic and on March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control released a recommendation to cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more. In addition there were historic cancellations and postponements of major livestock shows, high school athletic and academic competitions, as well as collegiate and professional sports nationally; all in the attempt to flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19. We know these recent developments have left agricultural science teachers, FFA members, and supporters with many questions regarding upcoming association events, activities, and programs. 

The Texas FFA Association Board of Directors convened via conference call on Monday, March 16, 2020 and made the difficult decision to suspend all Texas FFA Association activities through at least April 10, 2020.

Here is what that means:

• All district and area face-to-face meetings should be postponed (if you have a district or area application submission deadline, check with the respective leadership of that group to determine if it is still in effect).

• No travel for state FFA officers and staff except in approved, necessary instances through April 10, 2020. 

• Remote work for Texas FFA Association, ATAT and Texas FFA Foundation staff beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, for at least two weeks. During this period of remote work, EMAIL will be the most effective means to contact/communicate with FFA staff. Please see all staff responsibilities/email addresses at the end of this message.

• Closure of the Ford Agricultural Education and Texas FFA Leadership Center to all visitors beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020, through at least April 10, 2020.

• Postponement of the Ford Leadership Scholars banquet, scheduled for March 29, 2020.

• The Texas FFA Association Board of Directors will meet remotely for their 3rd Quarter Meeting scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2020.

• The Texas FFA Foundation Board of Directors will meet remotely for their 1st Quarter Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

• Postponement of all area and state level career development events.

We know that last bullet point is going to raise a lot of questions. In a conference call hosted yesterday with our spring Career Development Event providers, the COVID-19 situation has shut down university campuses to staff, students, and large groups through the end of the semester. This means that our spring area and state CDEs will not be able to be held on the date or at the location originally scheduled. Please know that the Texas FFA Association staff and board of directors will consult with the CDE Advisory Committee and are looking at all possible alternative dates, locations, and delivery methods to conducting area and state CDEs. This will be a major topic of discussion at the March 30th Texas FFA Board Meeting, and more information will be provided after that meeting. Additionally, as this situation progresses, it may be necessary to reimagine area degree checks, scholarship checks and area conventions. Know that Team Ag Ed is closely monitoring these options and hope to be able to provide support and guidance to areas should these contingencies be necessary.

Current plans remain in place for all other Texas FFA Association events scheduled beyond April 10, 2020, with the exception of Career Development Events, though these other activities remain subject to change. Team Ag Ed will continue to monitor this situation and make adjustments to deadlines and due dates as needed. Additionally, no accounts will be blocked in the Texas FFA Roster and no late fees will be assessed on delinquent balances at this time. Operations of the Association and staff remain underway. In the event circumstances change, we will make decisions and communicate accordingly.

We continue to encourage all local FFA chapters to follow the directives provided by their local school districts and to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. They should regularly monitor information from the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the appropriate next steps. Resilience and grit are two qualities the Texas Agricultural Education family are known for, hold tight, we will make it through this!
 

   
 
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