Leander ISD is preparing plans to open the 2020-21 school year focused on:
- Health and Safety;
- Voice and Choice;
- Taking Care of People; and
- High Quality.
Based on the rules being set by the state of Texas regarding school funding and our ability to support teachers and school operations, we will be offering families the following two choices for next school year:
- 100% enrollment in our Virtual Empowered Learning program where teachers will lead both live and self-paced instruction for students; and
- 100% in-person instruction where we will adhere to the safety and public health guidelines set by our local and national public health agencies, including face coverings, minimizing large gatherings, personal hygiene, contact-tracing, health screenings, and facility sanitization.
Earlier this summer, we were exploring the possibility of a third option for families in middle and high schools to include a “hybrid 50/50” approach, combining in-person and at-home learning. At this time, based on guidance from the state, feasibility, and concerns about teacher workload, we are not pursuing a hybrid 50/50 option.
Thank you to our families who completed our survey last week. We used this data as a general benchmark for setting expectations for the next school year. Later this month, you will have the opportunity to select either 100% Virtual Empowered Learning or 100% in-person learning for your student(s). This process will be offered in multiple languages and in multiple formats (not exclusively electronic) so we can include all families.
If you would like to hear from our district leadership and ask questions about our planning, you can register for one of our webinars this week.
- Wednesday, July 8 for all teachers and staff at 12 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 8 for elementary school families at 1 p.m.
- Thursday, July 9 for middle and high school families at 4 p.m.
Teams of administrators and instructional staff are working to collect data through surveys, focus groups, and our Board of Trustees meetings to shape the best path to open the 2020-21 school year while the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic continues to spread across the nation, state, and region.
Parent Preference Survey
Leander ISD launched a parent survey to capture an idea for family choice in opening the school year. The survey is intended for planning purposes only, not for declaring a choice for the school year. Parents may need to still enroll in a specific program or choice when we get closer to the school year.
Parents can participate in the survey through a unique email sent for each student to the Guardian 1 contact provided by parents during their student’s enrollment.
Classroom and Campus Safety
We are working to ensure students and staff are in an environment that is sanitized, provides access to handwashing, and ensures social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Campus and district support will outline the following:
- Social distancing during meal times and adequate protective gear used by the cafeteria staff.
- Guidelines for the wearing of facial coverings, appropriate to age and setting, to protect the health of self and others.
- Sanitation of surfaces within the classroom and throughout the building throughout the day, including the utilization of CDC cleaning protocols each evening after dismissal.
- Hand sanitizer and student handwashing procedures utilized throughout the day.
Social Distancing and Student/Staff Health
District and campus leaders are working to ensure social distancing to the greatest extent possible. This includes the configuration of classroom and distance between students and staff during arrival, dismissal, and transitions. Our team will be sharing details regarding the following:
- Clear protocols for communicating campus responses if any student or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19.
- Social distancing within classrooms as much as possible.
- Staggering arrival, dismissal, and transition time in hallways to reduce crowding.
- Screening of staff and student health upon arrival to buildings.
As we prepare to welcome students back to school, LISD is committed to:
- Strengthening relationships and ensuring that our students and families are connected to their teachers, classmates, and LISD campus community
- Providing the highest quality educational experiences our families are accustomed to
- Offering a choice of safe and healthy learning environments
In fulfillment of these commitments our current plan prioritizes the following:
- The social and emotional well being of our students and staff
- The choice for students to attend school “in-person” on campus or virtually
- A newly designed 100% “Virtual Empowered Learning” experience:
- TEKS-aligned LISD curriculum
- Consistent “school day” schedule and routines
- Synchronous “face-to-face” virtual learning with teacher and classmates
- Meaningful independent activities, projects, and practice
- Assessments and numerical grading system aligned to “in-person” learning
- Teachers who have attended LISD virtual teaching academy training
- Districtwide utilization of learning management platforms that are user-friendly, streamlining access, and procedures for students, parents, and staff
- Professional learning and trainings for all educational staff to focus on:
- Addressing academic as well as social and emotional needs of returning students
- Providing foundational districtwide capacity to transition into Virtual Empowered Learning if the need arises
- Addressing IEP and 504 plans, tailored to meet the needs of each student that may include in-person and/or virtual (synchronous and asynchronous) learning
We are thankful for your patience during this stressful and uncertain time for you and your family. We know this article does not address all the details that you may need. Please look for our next communication on Thursday, July 9.