Trustees OK change in start date

Trustees OK change in start date
Posted on 07/28/2020
Trustees OK change in start date

Nacogdoches ISD will move back the start date of classes to Aug. 31 and offer virtual learning the first four weeks of school. NISD’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday during a special meeting to adjust the 2020-21 academic calendar.

After using virtual learning models during the first four weeks of class, NISD plans on a full opening of in-person instruction on Monday, Sept. 28.

Moving the start date back one week provides additional time for staff training and will allow for modifications of campus plans for the return of in-person classes, NISD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said.

“Understandably, teachers and parents have voiced concerns about going straight to full in-person classes,” Trujillo said. “I understand, and I agree.

“This response comes from our leadership team and a start of school task force and acknowledges concerns shared with the district by teachers, staff and parents about the reopening of full-time, in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

No later than one week prior to the Aug. 31 start of online instruction, the district will post and share its full plans for the start of school. The start-up plans will also be submitted to local health officials.

In the meantime, plans are being shared with NISD teachers so they can provide valuable input and direction.

Earlier this month, public schools in Texas received the go ahead for a four-week remote instruction plan to begin the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The virtual learning opportunities we will provide beginning Aug. 31 will be robust, organized, and a consistent experience for all students choosing this model of learning,” Trujillo said. “The district will use learning management systems to align in-person instruction with virtual learning modules and to streamline transitions from in-person learning to remote instruction, when needed.”

Leading up to the four-week opening period of remote instruction, the district will provide devices to students that need them. Later in the fall, NISD should have enough devices on hand to begin a 1:1 initiative that would supply devices to all students... laptops for older grades and tablets for those in Pre-K through second-grade.

To protect against the loss of valuable instruction in the spring, the district will also extend the length of the school day by 30 minutes for in-person instruction.

“By extending instructional time, the district could absorb an additional five to six days of possible campus and district closures,” said Trujillo, “thereby limiting or eliminating having to extend the 2020-21 school year and academic calendar into June.”

The district anticipates and is planning for the possibility of temporarily closing classrooms or campuses as the need arises to deal with the possibility of COVID-19 infections. Through guidance as directed by TEA, NISD will notify staff, parents and community health officials when a positive lab test for the novel coronavirus is confirmed.

“Never before has Nacogdoches ISD – along with schools across the state and the nation – opened an academic year with this many questions marks and possible unknowns,” Trujillo said. “I seek your patience, grace and understanding as we move forward with the new school year. And please know that the safety of staff and students is our sharply focused priority, serving as the foundation of each decision we make.”

 

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