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BISD details plan on road to reopening

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As the Aug. 17 first day of school in Bandera Independent School District nears, the district has released more details of its Road to Reopening 2020-2021 plan.

The school district is preparing for a challenging start of school against the backdrop of the COVIV-19 pandemic.

“We are excited about the new school year and the opportunity to see students and colleagues. It won’t be like any year we’ve experienced before, but we have a great team of folks working to make things great for kids. We are offering our families a choice. They may send their child in person for on-campus instruction with extra measures taken for safety, or they may choose remote instruction,” said Superintendent Jerry Hollingsworth. Information on the BISD webpage spells out details of the plan.

The website text spotlights the team theme that will be featured through the year. It says:

We are grateful and excited for the opportunity to return to face-to-face teaching and learning. Working together, we can all do our part to keep our loved ones safe and our schools open.

While many of us hoped that school would begin as normal in August, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic may be with us for some time, and that we will need to be flexible in our approach to daily routines and diligent in adopting health and safety protocols into our normal activities to keep our students and staff safe and our schools open.

Our Road to Reopening Task Force has designed a comprehensive plan to significantly reduce the risks of the spread of COVID-19 incorporating guidelines provided by the Texas Education Agency, The Texas Department of State Health Services and local health officials.

The plan will be updated as further guidance is provided by those agencies.

One of first things parents need to do is decide if they want to send their student or students to in-person instruction or use remote instruction.

The selection time frame started Friday, July 24, and ends on Monday, Aug. 3, the website stated.

Hollingsworth said students whose families choose on-campus Instruction can expect a few differences this year.

Families will be asked to commit to screen their children daily for symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 before sending them to school.

Additionally, all students will have a quick temperature scan taken with a touchless thermometer that provides quick results.

School leaders are taking steps to plan on ways to provide more distancing between students throughout the school day.

Parents who are choosing remote instruction will be able to access instruction through a district-provided Chromebook laptop since BISD has made plans to provide a device for every student.

“Online instruction this school year will not be as easy as the online instruction that students experienced in the spring semester. They should expect to have daily instruction and assignments in each subject,” the superintendent said.

He went on to explain that students would occasionally need to log on for face-to-face interactions with their teachers.

When parents make a commitment to on-campus or remote learning, they will not be able to change in their commitment until the end of each six-week grading period, the district said.

“Our goal is to ensure that teachers are able to plan on students staying in either on-campus or remote instruction for at least six weeks at a time,” said Hollingsworth. “Continually fluctuating class rosters make it even more difficult for teachers to appropriately plan for their classes.”

For more information about the new school year, go online to www.banderaisd.net or to the districts Facebook or Twitter pages.