Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic bringing abrupt changes, the Kaufman Independent School District has announced plans to begin the 2020-2021 school year, stating that they will offer two learning options for students.The district detailed the “At-School” and “At Home” programs which they will offer, in a press release issued by KISD on July 14.
The “At-School” program will see students returning to the campus to learn in a more traditional fashion. With the high risk of COVID-19 spreading among students and staff, extra precautions are being utilized in an attempt to keep schoolgoers safe. KISD states “The At-School option will put measures in place to maximize student and staff health and safety.” According to the district’s website, measures being taken to reduce spread of COVID-19 include increased signage around campuses, increased cleaning and sanitation practices, and frequent reminders of hand hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are also “highly recommended and required at times when social distancing isn’t possible.”
Next year will be one of the most challenging years on record for all public schools as districts continue to think of innovative ways to tackle instruction during COVID-19.
“We have been following the state and local approach every day since this began and have planned accordingly.” Superintendent Lori Blaylock said in an article that will be featured next week in the July 30 Progress edition of the Kaufman Herald. “Last year, we had to invent new ways to get things done and, while I’m immensely proud of how well we did, we needed to change some things going into this school year to more clearly define the choice between the At-Home and At-School options. Obviously, we will continue learning and refining.”
Perhaps one of the most pressing questions addressed by KISD is “What happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19?”
KISD answered in the “At-School-learning FAQ,” stating “Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent home to recover. When notification of a possible exposure occurs the campus/district will follow the latest guidance delivered by TEA. For students sent home or quarantined, they will continue working via the At-Home model.”
Parents who do not wish to have their children return to campus for the 2020-2021 school year may opt for the “At-Home” schooling program. According to KISD, this program will contain “additional pieces and expectations” that were not implemented in the at-home program that was employed by the district last year, when COVID-19 forced students and staff to adapt.
Students who enroll in the At-Home model will be presented with two options: Remote online learning, or remote learning with no internet. Students who are able to use the online learning platform will engage in learning activities from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m each school day. Chromebooks will be issued to high school and junior high students who need one.
The second option, remote learning with no internet, requires students to download electronic packets once a week, and download the next week’s work at the same time. Free Wi-Fi will be available in the school’s parking lots, and Chromebooks will be issued to students in high school or junior high as necessary.
Students who choose remote learning with no internet will be required by KISD to attend “extended learning sessions” once COVID-19 subsides, in order to obtain credit for their work. These sessions may occur “during the spring, spring break, summer school, or other possibilities.”
In the event that schools close, students will then learn via the At-Home model, regardless of which program was selected at the time of enrollment.
Other details specified include plans for the district’s buses, which will continue to provide transportation to students. Breakfast and lunches will also continue to be served in each school’s cafeterias. Elementary campuses will provide recess for students, though the number of students together at one time will be reduced, and hand sanitizer will be required before and after recess.
More details on the plan are available at the school’s website at www.kaufmanisd.net.