Friday, July 10, 2020 / by Jenny Carroll
With so much to consider, so many unknowns and daily updates regarding the pandemic, it is understandable that parents, students and staff have concerns about what the return to school will be like come August. We are listening closely to the Texas Education Agency, to Governor Abbott, to our state and local health authorities, to the UIL, and others. The updates from these agencies and organizations is changing rapidly.
Back to School Planning Team
In Bastrop ISD, we always want to involve our constituents in decision making, and preparing for an August school start is no exception. Nearly 70 individuals were invited to form a Back to School Planning team. The team includes teachers, parents, students, campus staff, and district leaders. This website contains the work of the team as we explore possible options for returning safely to our schools in August 2020. We will continue to update this website as we work through the process.
At the conclusion of the Back to School Planning Team's work, we anticipate publishing our return to school plan on July 17, 2020.
Update on Planning Team’s Work
(Compiled from BISD website by Deena Thomas for Stanberry Realtors)
The 70-person back-to-school planning team has met three times since June 25 for discussions and considerations of TEA recommendations and requirements and the district-wide survey results. This time invested will steer decisions for what the return to school will look like with the first day currently scheduled for Tuesday, August 18.
During the July 2 team planning session, members broke out into discussion groups and considered the following conversation starters:
· What resources are already available and what resources will be needed?
· How will special populations be uniquely impacted based upon our decisions?
· What type or skills are needed for in-person instruction versus online instruction?
· What type of training will we need to offer faculty and staff for in-person instruction versus online instruction?
· What will first-day experiences look like for both students and faculty?
· How will student and staff mental health and social, emotional needs be addressed?
· What role changes, if any, will be needed especially for at-home learning?
The team also reviewed results from the June 22 survey that ran district-wide for that week. Responses were received from 2822 parents, 847 students, and 752 staff. The following are highlights from the survey:
The top concern for all respondents is the cleanliness of facilities.
Do you plan to enroll your student in BISD this fall?
· 39% I don’t know
· 38% Yes, for in-person school
· 22% Yes, for distance learning
· 1% I will withdraw my child
What are your transportation needs?
· 66% are able to provide transportation
· 20% will participate in bus service event if physical distancing cannot be guaranteed
· What is your instructional preference?
· Students were partial to in-person instruction by 42%
· PK-6 families preferred online instruction by 32% and in-person by 26%
· 7-12 families preferred online instruction by 39% and in-person by 26%
· Staff showed preference to alternating days for instruction at 29% as opposed to other choices including alternating a.m./p.m. or alternating weeks of instruction
For all school districts in the state having to make hard decisions about the 2020-2021 school year, especially in light of the challenges involved with school shutdowns this spring, access to adequate internet and devices is of utmost concern. The Bastrop ISD survey shows the following in that regard:
· 71% of the students and 73% of parents say they have ample internet service
· 63% of students have devices with 13% students only having a cell phone
· 47% of families have devices with 36% saying the devices within the family are shared and 14% have a cell phone only
Never before have educators throughout the nation had to make such innovative plans in regards to the health and safety of all those they serve and educate on a daily basis during the school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force and variables constantly changing, school teams are having to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions so close to the start of a new school year.
Go to https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DbnxCVAa-e01SrqdIP1heeJ2cezJvL8B/view to review all work completed by the Bastrop ISD Planning Team.