The district’s Board of Trustees met Wednesday to discuss the plans for the next school year. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers said that the district will need to be able to adapt to the latest news and information regarding people’s health and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m an eternal optimist … I certainly hope we start school, everything goes as planned, no closures, no changes in our plans, etc.,” Rogers said during the meeting, “but I’m also realistic, and I just don’t think that’s going to happen … We have the need to be flexible and nimble. That’s not going to change anytime in the near future.”
Trustee Kristi Hassett said after the meeting that, as of Wednesday, the district is planning on having parents choose for their kids to either learn full-time at school or remotely. A third option that would be mostly remote, but also allow for some athletics, art, electives and other classes to be in-person, is also being worked on.
The in-person option would be under the most restrictive guidelines, according to Trustee Jenny Proznik, including required masks, temperature screenings, closure of common areas, no visitors allowed and many other restrictions that would be meant to limit gatherings and limit the risk of the virus from spreading.
The remote learning option would be more rigorous than the spring at-home learning, it would take attendance and grades just like the in-person option would. Remote learning would require the student to do a few hours per day of online instruction and work, but doesn’t require all participants to be virtually present at the same time like in-person classrooms.
In either option, students would remain enrolled in their choice for a minimum of one nine-week grading period, and parents would have to notify the campus two weeks prior to the end of the grading period of their intent to move to another one.
School is still being planned to begin Aug. 12.
Hassett also said that the Texas Education Agency’s new guidelines released this week nixed a hybrid plan that would allow students to learn both in-person and remotely. The TEA won’t fund schools that do not open every school day unless the Governor shuts down schools temporarily.
District staff members are working on guidelines in case of a local spike in cases during the school year, as well as guidance for what parents and teachers should do if any students, teachers or members of their households get sick, according to Hassett.
The district will need to buy new virtual curriculum, according to Trustee Tracy Scott Miller, and that will be discussed at the next board meeting.
The district is expected to announce more information at a later time.