Due to the constantly changing conditions under which we are operating, which include health data and guidance from state and county authorities, FAQs are subject to change.
What safety protocols will be taken inside buildings?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other governing authorities provide guidance to assist with the safety of facilities and determining appropriate measures such as: controlling building access, reducing touch points, increasing cleaning, and planning for social distancing. We also are looking at plexiglass dividers in front offices.
Will students and staff be required to wear face coverings?
Yes, both staff and students for whom it is developmentally appropriate will be required to wear face masks or some type of face covering while in the building, which is aligned with Governor Abbott’s order issued July 2, 2020. There may be exceptions when face coverings can be removed (e.g., some outdoor activities, eating, etc.).
NEW! How did the district arrive at a decision for all students to wear face masks when in-person school begins?
The district has been in ongoing consultation with government and public health authorities and has reviewed current orders and guidance from the CDC, Governor’s Office, TEA and the Hays County Health Department. This guidance consistently states that preventative measures including the use of masks in public spaces hand social distancing help avoid the spread of infection. With key goals focusing on the health and well-being of our school community and the desire to be able to welcome students back to school in the safest possible environment, all students and staff will be required to wear face masks when in-person instruction resumes. The COVID Task Force – established by the Board of Trustees and consisting of parents, physicians and other community members, teachers, and staff – studied, discussed, and recommended this action. Among the information considered by the group was response from elementary teachers showing that a majority would be uncomfortable returning to the classroom if students were not wearing masks. This recommendation aligns community input with applicable orders and guidance. A webpage regarding face mask protocols and the exemption request process is available.
What if a student has a health condition and is advised not to wear a face mask?
Allowances may be considered for students who have other conditions that prohibit them from wearing a mask. If a student is unable to wear a face covering, we will develop a plan to accommodate that student’s learning needs. The exemption request process and link to the form is available here.
How will the use of face coverings by students be enforced?
All adults on campus should remind students when they notice a covering is not being worn correctly. Signs also will be placed throughout schools.
What if a student forgets a face covering?
Schools and classrooms will have extras available for students.
Is the district requirement for all staff and students to wear facemasks in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The district’s Face Mask Protocols conform with all federal and state laws including the American with Disabilities Act.
How will personal hygiene be reinforced?
Students will be reminded and requested to wash hands frequently. On the first day a student attends school on campus, schools must provide instruction to students on appropriate hygiene practices. Signage will be prominently displayed in appropriate areas, hand sanitizer will be available at multiple locations throughout the campus, and thorough hand washing will be required after recess, before and after eating, following restroom breaks, and periodically throughout the day. Elementary schools have hand washing stations in classrooms and hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout all schools.
Is the district taking any steps regarding ventilation that may help with circulation?
The Facilities team is implementing a recommendation from national sources including the CDC to increase ventilation and increase the amount of fresh air in rooms and buildings. This can be accomplished by changing settings and schedules for the HVAC system. In certain targeted rooms -- like nurses' clinics and locker rooms -- specialized filters (HEPA for example) are being considered as well.
Are plexiglass dividers going to be used?
Front office receptionist areas will have a plexiglass-type screens installed to separate visitors from staff. We also are ordering some classroom dividers based on grade level, room layouts, tables vs. desks, and type of class. These will be placed in a way that will provide an extra layer of separation between students in classrooms where the layout or age level is challenging with regard to social distancing.
How will classrooms be cleaned, including elementary grades with more hands-on areas?
Classrooms and restrooms will be disinfected daily, with concentration on high-touch areas, cleaning cloths will be changed for each classroom and common areas, the cafeteria will be disinfected between lunch periods and staff will have access to disinfectant to sanitize working surfaces and shared objects after each use and during breaks in instruction. Teachers will be equipped with disinfectant spray bottles to touch up areas throughout the day. Electrostatic machines (hand-held and larger unit) that deep clean will be available at each campus. Custodians will use these machines as frequently as possible, potentially spraying classrooms when students are at lunch or in another location, and will disinfect high-touch areas in pods and classrooms. Frequent hand washing also will be encouraged.
How will physical items, equipment or books be cleaned/disinfected?
The practices regarding sharing items will be revised to minimize use by multiple students. For some items, students may use their own supplies or set of supplies (art, manipulatives). Music and PE equipment will be sanitized and wiped down after each use. Centers for Learning and Innovation are looking at implementing controlled checkout procedures and are exploring specialized cleaning equipment for books.
How will bathroom breaks be structured for elementary students?
Schools will implement practices that limit the number of students in restrooms at a given time, with consideration given to social distancing recommendations. Protocols will vary slightly by campus depending on layout of the building, location and size of restrooms, etc.
What additional bathroom cleaning protocols will be added at secondary campuses?
Custodial teams will schedule additional restroom cleaning periodically throughout the day, concentrating on high-touch areas.
Will visitors be allowed on campus?
School will limit outside visitors to campus. Because activities that typically attract groups of visitors will not be held (assemblies, etc.), the flow of visitor traffic will be minimal. Virtual meetings will be used as a first option and maximized as the mode for meetings. For situations that still require parents or others to enter school buildings, they will be required to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, and will be subject to completing a symptom screening form.
How will campus meetings for parent organizations be held?
Parent meetings like the Parent-Teacher Associations, Campus Advisory Councils, Booster Clubs, etc., will be planned virtually to minimize on-campus presence. Schools hope to resume on-campus meetings as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.