August 6, 2021
As we prepare for the start of the year, Dripping Springs ISD has been evaluating and adapting our school health protocols to the fluid situation. While we once were hopeful that the pandemic would be behind us by the start of school, COVID cases continue to be reported in our county. We recognize that families want options to return to school in the way best suited for their personal situation. To that end, we have updated our back-to-school plan, including our school health protocols. The health protocols include the ability for students to opt out of field trips and gatherings, as well as notifications of positive cases for all classrooms and busses. Per GA-38, masks remain optional.
In addition to updating our school health protocols, DSISD staff have also worked to expand virtual options, especially for students whose situation warrants it. On Thursday afternoon, we received an update from the Texas Education Agency that provides limited and partial funding for districts that offer virtual learning in certain settings. While not equal to the per-student funding we receive for in-person learning, we appreciate the additional flexibility. As a district, we further expanded our offerings beyond TEA’s newly provided funding options in conjunction with ESSER funds to provide a virtual academy for the fall semester.
Dripping Springs ISD is offering a virtual academy for students who are currently unable to be vaccinated by creating a class section per grade level for K-6 district-wide. Instruction for virtual academy students will start on August 24, 2021, one week later than in-person school, in order to allow adequate time for staff to be hired and plans to be finalized. Students from all DSISD elementary schools will be included in the remote sections and may be assigned to a teacher from any district campus. When students return to in-person learning in the spring semester, they will be placed in a classroom where space is available at their home campus.
An application process will be required, with spots being filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The application window will be open for a limited time from August 6-10, 2021. Due to staffing and funding limits, students will not be able to enroll in virtual learning after the application closes on August 10, 2021. A waitlist will be established for any additional applications beyond capacity.
Members of the Tiger Nation have shown incredible resilience and ingenuity over the past 18 months as we have navigated the pandemic. We continue to adapt to current conditions and remain committed to prioritizing student health and safety while making educational decisions.
Link to Return-to-School Plan/Health Protocols