The DISD administrators and teachers have been working every day to develop our back-to-school plan for the upcoming school year which will be shared with you soon. Utilizing guidelines from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Office of the Governor, and our local health authorities, we feel confident in our ability to provide a safe and effective return to learning.
At least 70% of our students’ parents kindly completed the Return to School Parent Survey, and we greatly appreciate the input from our families as we strive to plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Survey results indicate that 38% of our students are highly likely to utilize the in-class option while 22% are somewhat likely to utilize the in-class option; 19% are somewhat unlikely to utilize the in-class option, and 21% are highly unlikely to use the in-class option:
Instruction Delivery Models
We continue to monitor updated TEA guidance and amend our instruction plan accordingly. However, based on current TEA guidelines, when school begins on August 24, 2020, we will offer both in-person and remote instruction opportunities on each campus so that every family can choose the instruction delivery model that best serves their needs.
OPTION 1- In-Person Learning:
Students will attend class daily on their campus. Our upcoming back-to-school plan will spell out the updated rules, routines, and procedures that will be put in place in order to comply with TEA/CDC guidelines. Considerations include reduced class sizes, revised cafeteria, hallway and transportation routines, additional cleaning protocols, and personal protective equipment.
Parents, students, and staff entering any campus will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals requiring quarantine will not be allowed on campus.
Per the TEA and the CDC, individuals are expected to quarantine and therefore will not be allowed on campus for a specified time period if they:
● Exhibit a COVID-19 like symptom such as:
o Runny Nose
o Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
o Nausea or vomiting
o Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100 degrees
o Loss of taste or smell
o Sore Throat
o Shaking or exaggerated shivering
o Significant muscle ache or pain
● Test positive for COVID-19
● Are in close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
Any student who is quarantined will be transitioned to remote learning until they are allowed to return.
Face masks/coverings- As mandated by Governor Abbott, face masks must be worn at school by students 10 years of age or older. In order to follow this directive and to remain consistent across all campuses, Devine ISD is planning, at this point, to require all students, faculty, and staff to wear face coverings at school. Lunch and physical education protocols will vary based on each campus, as these are the obvious times when a face covering is not practical.
We feel that requiring the use of face coverings is an important step to take in ensuring that no child becomes a “close contact” to someone at school who may subsequently test positive for COVID-19. For clarity, close contact is defined as: being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield or being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes while not wearing a mask or face shield).
Per the CDC, close contact is considered to have occurred if an individual is around someone (as explained above) in the two days prior to the onset of COVID symptoms or (in the case of someone who is asymptomatic), in the two days prior to the test.
OPTION 2- Remote Learning:
Students will remotely complete a rigorous curriculum provided by your child’s teachers on a daily basis. Attendance will be taken for each class/subject, and daily participation will be required. Numeric grades will be calculated for remote learning courses in the same manner as grades are calculated for in-person learners. DISD will communicate dates and times of remote learning information sessions for parents in the coming weeks. Details regarding student, parent, and teacher responsibilities, programs students will be required to use, procedures for taking daily attendance, and other essential information will be covered in these sessions. A parent of any student whose child will participate in distance learning will be required to attend at least one session.
Devine ISD is reviewing several options to aid our students that choose to proceed with the remote learning option for instruction. Administrators are reviewing survey results to make needed adjustments and to ensure the success of our students and teachers with technology and the distance learning platform, and DISD teachers are receiving additional instructional technology training both over the summer and upon their return in August.
At this time, our school calendar has not changed. Our scheduled start date is August 24, 2020, and the last day of school is May 27, 2021. This calendar may be located on our website at www.Devineisd.org.
Registration will be held during the first week of August, 2020. This process is planned to be conducted electronically, and the district is still fine-tuning this process. Detailed information will be communicated in the coming weeks. You will be asked to select your learning mode preference for the coming year during registration. After a full grading period, you can change your preference. DISD instructional staff firmly believes in the value of returning to school in person. We also recognize the social and emotional benefits for students in attending school. However, we recognize that a variety of factors make it essential that parents and students have the ability to choose the option you feel is optimal for your student to get the safest education possible.
As we navigate these unprecedented challenges, we value and appreciate the support of parents and the community. The majority of the decisions that need to be made during this time revolve around direction and guidelines from government agencies and health officials outside of the district. It is the responsibility of Devine ISD to follow these completely in order to comply with both state and federal laws. Further challenges that await us may require that additional guidelines be adopted, and we are grateful for your flexibility as we strive to accommodate and prioritize the needs of each student in our district. Please contact your student’s campus principal to discuss any specific concerns you have for your child/children. Devine ISD strives to make the most informed decisions possible for our staff and students, and we appreciate the opportunity to educate the children of this wonderful community.
Dr. Todd Grandjean