Home COVID-19 Updates COVID-19: School districts prep for in-person classes, but will limit student numbers

COVID-19: School districts prep for in-person classes, but will limit student numbers

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Many San Antonio-area school districts have been promoting their plans to transition back to in-person learning.

Students who chose the in-person instruction option go back to class starting Sept. 8 for many school systems.

Some teachers, parents and community members have expressed concerns about resuming on-campus instruction during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

But according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s school risk level indicator, the current level is moderate, meaning in-person instruction may prioritize special needs students, at-risk students and students who lack access to resources.

Metro Health also recommends groups of six or fewer students per classroom for the time being.

Northside Independent School District (NISD) confirms it will initially permit learners in specialized settings, such as those diagnosed with autism, back onto campus.

Additionally, English learners in elementary school may return to campus beginning Sept. 8, followed by secondary school students on Sept. 14.

A return-to-campus date will be determined for early childhood learners and at-risk students in Northside ISD.

“As a general guideline, families will have a two-week notice for when their child may return,” NISD stated.

Given Metro Health’s current indicator risk level, North East Independent School District (NEISD)’s phase-in system permits up to 10 students per classroom.

Superintendent Sean Maika said reopening schools is harder than keeping them open safely, which hinges greatly on everyone – employees, students, visitors – socially distancing, wearing masks and taking other precautions. 

If a positive COVID-19 case were to arise in any school, Metro Health would do contract tracing and have exposed individuals quarantined. A district may have to close a school for one to five days to complete the investigation.

“Schools are microcosms of their community. Since COVID-19 cases remain in our community, we must assume that we will have cases in our schools,” Maika said.

“How we open our schools and how we deal with a positive case will determine whether we need to close an impacted school or quarantine affected individuals.”

Alamo Heights Independent School District (AHISD) is prioritizing certain grade levels during the week of Sept. 8-11, and the remaining grade levels for the week of Sept. 14-18.

“This will ensure that all students who are choosing face-to-face return safely to campus full time by Sept. 21,” Superintendent Dana Bashara said.

San Antonio Independent School District’s (SAISD) own risk level indicator is presently Level 2 Yellow, meaning up to 10% of students may return to campuses. SAISD will limit class sizes to four to six students.

“For those students whose parents have given consent, SAISD will prioritize student return by focusing on those who will benefit most from in-person learning,” the district has stated.

“Campuses will work with families to bring in small numbers of students who require services in the area of special education, are struggling academically and are at risk, or are younger learners – such as prekindergarten through second grade.”

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District (SCUCISD) will welcome to campus students who have selected in-person learning while other students may stick with virtual lessons. 

Last spring, the SCUCISD technology department checked out 1,000-plus devices to families in need of equipment to participate in remote learning. More than 700 families opted to keep the devices for summer learning opportunities, and continue to use them early in the new school year.

On Sept. 8, Judson Independent School District (JISD) will maintain remote instruction with a “safe haven” option for students who have no Internet connectivity at home, receive special education services, or those who are the child of a single parent or two working parents and if childcare is unavailable. 

JISD tentatively plans to move forward with face-to-face or virtual lessons for all grade levels beginning Sept. 28.

“While changes can be made later, we ask that you make the best instructional choice for your family,” Superintendent Jeanette Ball told parents.

Harlandale Independent School District (HISD) has secured permission from the state to extend virtual learning until Oct. 16. The transition to in-person learning will begin Sept. 21 with 10% capacity.

“Children may continue virtual learning for as long as they are comfortable. Parents must make that choice every nine weeks,” HISD has stated.

Sept. 4 was the deadline for Southside Independent School District (SISD) parents to choose in-person lessons or continue with virtual learning.

Learners in a specialized setting, English learners and possibly students with limited access or resources can begin on-campus instruction on Sept. 21. 

On Sept. 28, SISD may introduce pre-kindergarteners to on-campus learning. On Oct. 12, all Southside students who’ve selected face-to-face lessons can begin those classes.

Boerne Independent School (BISD) is continuing with on-campus and virtual lessons. As of Sept. 4, authorities had reported five active COVID-19 cases districtwide, with a total of 94 individuals having been exposed to a confirmed positive case. 

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