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Letters from Superintendent York - July 8 and 9, 2020

July 9, 2020

Following our district-wide message we sent on Wednesday (see below) our central office and campuses have received several questions regarding WISD’s at-home, remote learning options and face coverings. The Texas Education Agency has outlined two remote-learning methods districts can offer while being able to count the attendance of students participating in each option. The two methods are:

Synchronous Instruction

  • This method is two-way, real-time, live instruction between teachers and students through the computer, other devices, or over the phone. (Ex. Students following along with a live video stream of their teacher(s) during lessons, assignments, tests, etc. at specified times.)
  • Offered at Jacob’s Well Elementary, Danforth Junior High School, and Wimberley High School
  • Will provide students with a fully TEKS-aligned curriculum
  • Students are required to be logged in at a designated time for attendance purposes
  • Daily instructional minutes requirement (does not need to be consecutive):
    • Third grade through fifth grade: 180 minutes
    • Sixth grade through 12th grade: 240 minutes
  • Grading policies will be consistent with pre-COVID-19, on-campus WISD policies
  • Schedules will be provided to synchronous students by their campus/teacher(s)

Asynchronous Instruction

  • A more self-guided instructional experience; students engage in the learning materials on their own time, interacting intermittently with the teacher via computer, other devices, or over the phone. (Ex. Similar to the way WISD delivered instruction the final nine weeks of the 2019-20 school year.)
  • Offered at Blue Hole Primary, Jacob’s Well Elementary, Danforth Junior High School, and Wimberley High School
  • Will provide students with a fully TEKS-aligned curriculum
  • Grading policies will be consistent with pre-COVID-19, on-campus WISD policies
  • Daily student progress will be defined and measured
  • Instructional schedules will be provided that outline expectations

In addition to these questions, we have also been asked specifically about face coverings for those students and staff that will be on our campuses. As of today (July 9) Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-29 issued on July 2 is in effect, and will be until modified or rescinded by the governor. In the TEA’s guidance issued July 7 it is stated “schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order” regarding face coverings. In the governor’s order there are a list of exceptions (highlighted on document in link). To comply with the governor’s order, Wimberley ISD will require the use of face coverings (disposable masks, cloth face coverings, face shields) for all students, staff, and visitors 10 years of age or older. Also per the governor’s order, any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering will be exempt from this rule.

Please give attention to our district website, social media channels, and your email as we release more details in the coming weeks that will give you answers to many of the reopening questions that you have. I hope you have a great weekend.

 

July 8, 2020

I want to thank you for your patience as you have waited for additional information from us regarding next school year. Trust me when I say that we have been anxiously awaiting more information from our state agencies as well. On Tuesday, we received planning guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA); we believe this guidance is finally information that won’t dramatically change prior to our first day of school in exactly six weeks. 

While we have been waiting for this set of recommendations we’ve had teams of district staff working on different possibilities for the upcoming school year. This work has been ongoing for months. Earlier today our WISD Reopening Task Force held a meeting that brought many of these smaller groups together. Based on the work that has been occurring and the guidelines released by the TEA, this is what we know as of today:

  • WISD will offer daily (five days/week) on-campus teacher to student instruction to all students beginning August 19. (Junior high and high school students who registered for classes last spring will follow those schedules for on-campus learning this fall.)

  • WISD will offer a full-time at-home learning option to students

  • We will follow health and safety procedures and recommendations as outlined by the Texas governor and the TEA at our campuses to make these environments as safe as possible for all students and staff

  • WISD will follow the previously adopted academic calendar while keeping the option to modify the calendar if circumstances call for changes

We will release more details in the coming weeks that will give you answers to many of the questions that I know you have. Information will be forthcoming on personal protective equipment, attendance requirements, screening processes, procedures for a positive COVID-19 case, the process for selecting on-campus or at-home learning, and much more.

Like I said in my opening, thank you for your patience as we navigate this time and work to provide the best scenario for ALL of our students and staff. I wish you the best as you continue your summer break.



Dwain York
WISD Superintendent