After waiting to hear what state officials would mandate, Plano ISD administrators are putting together a plan for the fall.
Schools will re-open on Aug. 12 for in-person learning. However, if a parent has reservations about their child returning to campus, they can choose a fully remote option instead.
According to Superintendent Sara Bonser, online students will be assigned a PISD teacher and will tune into live lessons. A survey conducted by the district showed that 76.08 percent of respondents wanted more live options for students.
On Tuesday, June 23, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced that a district may not require a student to remain at home. Districts can also use Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) funding for both types of learning.
Morath also stated that districts would not be able to offer hybrid options, a combination of in-person and online learning. Bonser backed this up, telling Fox 4 DFW on Friday, June 26 that coordinating three different options at the same time would prove too difficult.
Since Morath and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) haven’t released any concrete guidelines for August, it’s up to the districts to begin creating precedents based on what they do know. PISD has a task force of 37 people to start planning.
In the survey they sent out, 11,724 parents noted their concerns about returning to school. Of these, 82.14 percent worried about children or staff coming to school sick, 70.58 percent worried about social distancing on campus, 69.87 worried about cleaning and disinfecting measures, 61.38 percent worried about the impact of having to re-close later in the year, 56.1 percent worried about face coverings on campus and 29.28 percent worried about social distancing on buses.
Nearly 60 percent of responders said they would not send their students to school if campuses reopened this week.
Teachers are just as concerned for the upcoming school year. Out of 3,552 who answered a survey of their own, more than 64 percent were concerned about social distancing on campus, cleaning and disinfecting, children or staff coming to school sick, face coverings on campus and having to close again.
Families who choose the “PISD [email protected]” option will have access to parent support material.
The TEA didn’t require any safety protocols for schools. Instead, campuses are merely “encouraged” to provide handwashing stations and should “consider” mandating face masks.
By Morgan Howard • [email protected]