District Messages During Weather Event
Feb. 21, 12:00 p.m.
As our community continues to experience consequences of last week’s weather event, we want to share our plan to get back to school. We know this has been a stressful time for our entire community, and we have put the well-being of our staff and our families at the forefront of all decisions.
We know that a number of staff and families are still without water and/or internet connectivity, but thankfully it appears that most have had power restored. We want to be supportive of our community during this time and make sure that members of the Tiger family can meet their basic needs, but we also want to welcome our students back to a safe and productive learning environment.
We plan to stair-step back to normalcy over the next few days.
On Monday, Feb. 22, we will remain closed to allow our staff and our families who have experienced hardship to continue to put their lives back together as we continue clean-up and repairs at schools. This day also will allow teachers the opportunity to get to campus to gather up teaching materials or technology they may need.
Tuesday, Feb. 23, will be a 100 percent remote, asynchronous learning day. This will allow one more day for the district to complete repairs and clean-up as needed, and also provide some flexibility to staff.
On Wednesday, Feb. 24, we plan to return to regular operations, with students learning in-person or remotely based on their current format choice.
We are aware that some families are struggling with their supply of food and we want to support our community by offering lunches to students in need. We will have lunches available for pick-up at two locations (Sycamore Springs Middle School and Dripping Springs High School) on Tuesday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23. We had hoped to offer lunches on Monday, but we will be receiving deliveries throughout the day and our staff will be preparing and packaging meals for pick-up Tuesday. In order to ensure we have enough lunches prepared, please fill out this Google form in English or in Spanish if your student(s) is in need of lunch as soon as possible, but no later than 3:00 p.m. Monday.
We evaluated several factors in determining when we can return to normal operations: the condition of buildings, the personal circumstances of those who may still be experiencing disruption of utilities, and the ability of staff to return to work. We have surveyed our staff and learned that nearly 30 percent still had at least one barrier to returning to work (lack of power, water, internet connectivity).
Our buildings held up relatively well, but we experienced water damage in six of seven schools. We were fortunate that we got the water turned off at all locations early in the week, which minimized damage. Repair work and clean-up is ongoing, but we have made good progress. Dripping Springs Middle School had multiple leaks and has the most extensive damage. The high school was the final campus to turn the water back on, and we did so this morning, with some administrative staff present to inspect for leaks. All in all, we were very fortunate compared to many school districts in our area.
We will keep our families posted on make-up day requirements. The TEA has allowed some additional waiver opportunities, and we believe at least four of our canceled days will be eligible. April 2 is marked as a weather make-up day on our calendar and we will inform our families as soon as possible if we need to make other calendar adjustments.
We know that many of our families have endured hardship through this past week. Our counselors put together this newsletter that includes resources for those who may need additional support.
Again, we wish everyone the best as we get back on our feet together. We can’t wait to resume daily interaction with our students!
Feb. 19, 7:00 p.m.
Dear DSISD Staff and Families,
We hope that conditions are improving for your families as we start to put the extreme winter weather behind us. We know that some members of our community are still struggling with power and water issues, and that others are low on supplies. Our thoughts continue to be with you during this time.
At DSISD we are looking at what it will take to return to normal operations.
We first must assess our buildings to see what level of damage we may have. We have noted at least some water damage (varying degrees) at several campuses, but we believe that potential damage was kept to a minimum because we shut off water to schools relatively early in this weather event. Our maintenance and custodial personnel have been working today to address issues we may have in terms of repair and clean-up, and will continue to do so through the weekend.
Secondly, our Child Nutrition Department is busy assessing our situation with stored food to be certain that lack of power did not compromise items. We are inspecting our supply and we will work closely with our distributors to confirm delivery schedules so that we will be ready to serve students.
We also must assess connectivity and power availability for our teachers and students. Currently it appears that PEC has restored power to 99 percent of customers. However, some of our staff commute from other communities that have ongoing issues. We also have reports of WiFi unreliability.
We need to decide if we can return to our normal operations on Monday, Feb. 22, with students learning both in-person and remotely. If that is not possible due to building conditions, we will determine if we can conduct a 100 percent remote learning day. Because conditions are changing (and luckily improving) rapidly, we are not making any announcement today. We will notify our staff and families either Saturday or Sunday of our decision regarding return to school.
We are so proud of the resilience of our staff and students during these challenging times.
Feb. 17, 2021, 4:15 p.m.:
We hope your families are safe and staying warm. We know that this weather event continues to take its toll on members of the Tiger community. With the challenges being created by the cold weather, icy roads, power outages, water issues, and food shortages, the well-being of our students, families, and staff is our first priority.
Based on conditions in our community, we are extending the district closure through the end of the week. All campuses will be closed for both in-person and remote learning on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. This applies to all events, activities, and the Child Development Center.
Today, DSISD maintenance employees who are able to drive safely are checking for leaks or other damage in buildings, shutting off water where needed, and cleaning up water that is found. Water and pipe damage has been noted at several locations, and power outages continue at our campuses. We want to thank our dedicated employees who are working hard to ensure our facilities are secure by mitigating damage caused due to the weather phenomenon.
We are keeping up-to-date on communications from TEA regarding emergency closures. We plan to keep our staff and families posted about the outcomes of waiver applications we will submit to hopefully minimize, or even eliminate, required make-up days.
Please stay safe.
Feb. 16, 2021, 3:00 p.m.
As our community continues to experience challenges with power outages, sub-freezing temperatures, and additional precipitation that is forecasted, Dripping Springs ISD is extending the school closure to include Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Previously, it was announced that the district would be closed today and Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. This closure applies to all activities and events, in addition to classes.
At this time, we hope to plan for Friday to be a 100 percent remote, asynchronous learning day. The district will confirm Friday as a remote learning day with a notification to staff and families by Thursday.
Before we can welcome students back to campus next week, district staff will need to inspect buildings for damage caused by the extreme weather conditions.
We know the last several days have been very difficult for many of our employees and families. We wish you the best as you navigate these trying circumstances.
Below are ongoing messages that have been saved with parents and staff the weather event the week of Feb. 15, 2021.
Feb. 15, 2021, 3:30 p.m.
We will evaluate conditions, including those in our facilities, before making a decision regarding Thursday, Feb. 18.
Feb. 14, 2021, 11:00 a.m.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a major winter storm will move across the region this afternoon through Monday morning. A mix of freezing rain and sleet is expected, with a change to all snow tonight. See the tips below to help navigate this extreme winter weather:
- Use caution and wear sturdy shoes if you need to be outside where there is ice on walking surfaces.
- Once the rain begins, travel on roadways is strongly discouraged. Icy roads create hazardous driving conditions.
- In addition, the bitter cold and rain will create the potential for scattered power outages across the region. Gather items you may need in the event of a loss of power including blankets, flashlights, etc. Check and replace batteries in flashlights and other battery-powered lighting sources.
- Wear extra layers of clothing and add more covers to your sleeping area.
- Check on your neighbors who may need assistance, particularly the elderly.
- Animals should be given shelter and, whenever possible, pets should be allowed inside.
- Check the external pipes on homes and buildings. Consider wrapping them to prevent breaks. Keep faucets on a very slow drip.
- Plants will freeze, so bring them inside if portable or cover them.
We hope our Tiger families were able to stay warm and safe today! We wanted to touch base regarding weather make-up days. We designate two dates on our annual academic calendar as "Weather Make-Up Days" that switch from student holidays to school days if we experience an earlier cancellation for bad weather. The first of these designated days is this coming Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. Because of this short turn-around from today's cancellation and because bad weather is expected Sunday/Monday, we will not use Feb. 15 as our make-up day; it will remain as a student holiday. The other designated make-up day on the 2020-21 calendar is Friday, April 2, 2021.
Dripping Springs ISD schools will be closed Friday, Feb. 12, due to weather conditions. District spotters have reported ice in some areas of the district, as well as downed trees. This decision was made for the safety of students, staff, buses and drivers. This closure applies to the Child Development Center and all events and activities. Parents will be sent clarifying information regarding the make-up day at a later time.
We appreciate our designated spotters who have been checking the roads this morning.
We have received questions about the possibility of going 100 percent virtual on future bad weather days. The Texas Education Agency originally directed school districts that such a day could not count towards required instructional minutes or state funding. However, there is some new information coming from the state level that we will consider moving forward.
Feb. 11, 2012, 8:45 p.m.
Out of an abundance of caution, Dripping Springs ISD schools will operate on a two-hour delay Friday, Feb. 12. While the precipitation is expected to end this evening, some residual icy conditions may exist. School start times and bus pick-up times will be two hours later than on a normal day. This delay also applies to the DSISD Child Development Center. District offices that typically open at 8:00 a.m. will open by 10:00 a.m.
Parents, please show caution on sidewalks and walkways that are not well-traveled and could be slick. Also, ensure that children are dressed warmly at bus stops and walking, as temperatures are expected to be chilly tomorrow!
At this time, the district does not feel positioned to shift to full virtual instruction on short notice because students may not have taken devices home and teachers may not have technology and lesson materials with them.