School reopening concerns, virtual Town Hall meeting July 27

DISD approved the purchase of 1,000 Chromebooks for students and 137 laptops for teachers at the Devine ISD school board meeting on July 20 as vital tools in assisting the district move to and support the online learning environment with an expected cost not to exceed $325,000.

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School uniforms and staff dress code were talked about with concerns about unnecessary spending by parents and staff for clothes during these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic under the uncertainly of how will school open up effectively and for how long.
“While not advocating to do away with uniforms entirely , I think that we should relax the dress code for the upcoming school year. I see no reason why parents should incur additional expense in a year when we can’t even be 100% certain we will be physically back in school. In reality, the Governor or the TEA could continue to delay reopening of schools for in person instruction. When we do open up, even when a parent chooses in-person instruction, TEA guidelines require that children be sent home for between 10 and 14 days if they test positive, come in close contact with someone testing positive, or exhibit COVID-like symptoms which include common symptoms like a headache or runny nose. I think we should allow our students to wear things like solid color t-shirts or polos and spirit shirts that they already own. A parents’ money is better spent on supplies to facilitate the success of remote learning if required,.” said Trustee Renee Frieda.
After discussion it was decided that for this year Devine spirit shirts will be allowed all 5 days of the week in the colors of maroon, gold, white, grey and black. Many students already have plenty of those in their closets. Other thoughts considered were such as solid colored shirts, solid colored polos but not approved or added.
Changes to the staff dress code were also talked about with the idea of relaxing the code due to costs and the fact that teachers will be having to clean off student desks with Clorox wipes and such between classes. Approved for staff was a Monday jeans and staff shirt day as well as the usual Friday jeans and spirit shirt day.
Superintendent Todd Grandjean was given the authority to meet with the administrative team of each campus and look into if any further changes need to be made. They were also asked to try and figure out what defines a school spirit shirt, whether it be homemade or bought through school activities and the like.
Devine is also going to reach out to staff and parents in the upcoming days in a live virtual format so be watching for those notifications.
The “Town Hall” staff meeting will be a live conversation with Superintendent Grandjean and the employees on utube live so the employees can participate and send in questions. An email address will be set up for questions and taken during the first hour. Other questions will be worked through and put out. They already have some questions lined up to address. It will not be on Zoom, but instead on utube.

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Next Monday, July 27 there will be a similar parent meeting on utube.
See separate article related to the school survey done earlier in the month. Devine has 1992 students, 50 of them new this year.
Superintendent Grandjean was pleased that about 70 percent of students were represented during the survey, as some parents have more than one child in school.
School classroom choices where in class, or virtual will be chosen by parents two weeks prior to the start date of August 24. See separate article on educational choices.
“I won’t be at all surprised if the Governor says come back after Labor Day and go remote until at least then. The big schools are putting alot of pressure on him, ” said Dr.Grandjean.
Be watching for statewide announcements coming this week, possibly as soon as Thursday concerning school start dates and recommendations.
By Kathleen Calame