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Parent Update/In-Person Learning Starts Sept. 14

Sept. 11, 2020

On Sept. 14, our school year will continue as some students return to DSISD campuses and others will continue to learn remotely. We approach this new and exciting time as a team — remaining dedicated to providing ALL students with an exceptional educational experience. Teachers have been working on methods to connect and interact with both groups of students. During the first week, there will be some activities helping on-campus learners settle in, such as safety protocol training. Teachers are working to schedule these activities during independent (asynchronous) time as much as possible so that instructional time is not disrupted for remote learners.

Health/Safety Protocols:
In meeting our commitment to take every step we can to protect student and staff health by mitigating potential exposures, we have implemented many safety protocols on our campuses. Throughout our planning process, district and campus leadership teams have discussed many issues and potential scenarios, trying to make consistent and reasonable decisions. As we move forward and see how things look with students back on campus, we will continually evaluate protocols to determine if adjustments should be made.
Here is an overview of several key expectations regarding safety for students:

  • Face masks will be required on buses and at school facilities for all staff and students. More information about this standard and the exemption policy are available here. Because of the exemption process, qualifying students may be allowed to use school transportation and be on school premises including classrooms without wearing a mask and additional safety measures will be implemented.
  • Social distancing will be maintained in hallways and common areas to the greatest extent possible.
  • Students will be encouraged to wash hands frequently.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for use between handwashing.
  • Water bottles can be filled at filling stations; water fountains will not be operational.

Now more than ever, we need to partner with our parents to help things run smoothly on our campuses. Parents, please monitor your child’s health closely and use this symptom screener to use as a guide.

  • Please do not send students to school with any symptoms (see Page 14 of plan) that could be COVID-related.
  • Please take your child’s temperature each morning.
  • Please inform your child’s campus/nurse in the case of a positive COVID test.
  • Please send your child to school or the bus stop with a face mask. If a student forgets or misplaces a mask, disposable replacements will be available.

We will follow guidance from the Texas Education Agency and the Hays County health authority regarding notification when a positive COVID case is reported. This will include close contact identification and direct notification with those who fall under the definition of the CDC. Whether the positive case is a student, staff member, or campus visitor (which should be limited), all staff and parents at that school will be notified via email. In addition, a “dashboard” of active COVID cases will be on the district website in the next few days.

Process for Symptoms/Positive Cases/Contact:
A “process map” has been developed to serve as a guide for parents when a student or family member tests positive, displays symptoms, or has a direct exposure. This document aligns to guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Texas Education Agency, and Hays County. Some minor revisions have been made to the chart since it was originally posted. We also continue to monitor changes made at the state and/or county levels regarding these protocols.

Changing Learning Formats:
Parents whose children are learning remotely can request to change to in-person learning leading into a new grading period. Requests to change learning formats heading into the second grading period can be made through Family Access once that window is opened Sept. 25; the deadline to change between the first and second grading periods will be Oct. 2, 2020. If an in-person learner needs to quickly default to remote learning due to illness or quarantine, these needs will be accommodated immediately.

Substitute Needs:
We want to make parents aware that as a district we continue to need more substitute teachers than we have available, especially those willing to take long-term assignments. Depending on teacher absences, there could be times when campus administrators have to get creative with classroom coverage. Bus routes also could be impacted. Anyone who may be interested in serving as a substitute teacher, please see this link for more information on applying.

Campus Communication:
Our schools also have provided and will continue to provide communication regarding returning to in-person learning, safety protocols, and school programs. Your campus teachers, principals, and websites are great resources of information for questions regarding your child’s specific school.

We will continue to be flexible with plans as we get feedback from parents, students, and educators. We look forward to continuing our school year united in our cause of providing a safe and quality education for all of our students.