By Sumaiya Malik
As school reopening days near in August, Texas schools still continue to face the dilemma of whether to go completely online, apply the hybrid, or give a choice to students, and how to successfully impart instruction remotely because of the stronghold of Coronavirus pandemic in the state and particularly in Austin.
Parents, teachers and students are concerned about how to remain safe and therefore every day the plans for reopening are being modified.
A recent University of Texas and Texas Politics Project poll showed that 65% of Texans said it was unsafe for children to go back to school. (July 15, 2020, Texas Tribune).
It is best to check for updates on your school district webpage.
However, here is what’s happening right now. According to Statesman, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott has ordered all school districts and private schools in the county to delay reopening on-campus instruction.
A note on the Eanes School District page said, “Yesterday the City of Austin and Travis County enacted a joint order banning in-person classes for all schools through Sept. 7.”
Facing growing angst among parents and educators, the Texas Education Agency softened its stance on in-person instruction mandates as schools navigate reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency issued revamped rules on Friday, July 17, that give local school districts more control over start dates and how long schools can remain closed and teach students online.
The agency is extending the time that districts can teach online and continue to be fully funded.
Texas Education Agency has decided that Texas schools can stay online only for the first four weeks. School systems can continue to limit access to on-campus classes for an additional four weeks if needed.
Here’s what some school districts are posting:
Leander ISD opts to go virtual-only for the first three weeks of school
Leander ISD has joined the Austin, Round Rock and Pflugerville school districts by opting to conduct the first three weeks of school virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hays CISD delays start of fall semester
The district has shifted forward the entire 2020- 2021 school calendar, moving the start date for school to Tuesday, September 8, 2020, which is the day after the Labor Day holiday.
(Note: previously scheduled holidays and breaks have not changed).
Hays CISD instruction, using the new calendar, will be virtual (at-home and online) for the first three weeks of school.
The anticipated earliest date students would return to school buildings for in-person learning is Monday, September 28, 2020.
Austin ISD to host virtual information sessions about reopening schools
School starts Aug. 18. AISD announced that it will not offer in-person classes for the first three weeks. Classes will be taught virtually during that time.
Del Valle ISD
Dell Valle ISD will start the school year with 100% remote learning.
Round Rock ISD
Following the initial three-weeks of all-virtual learning, Round Rock ISD’s current instructional plan is to offer on-campus learning starting on Thursday, Sept. 10 and continue all-virtual learning for students who have chosen that option.
The fall 2020 semester will start August 26. In-person instruction will end November 25, the day before Thanksgiving.
Most students will remain away from campus for the remainder of the semester, taking final exams online from December 7 to 16.
For more information, please visit your school district online.