East Texas school district officials on Friday were making plans ahead of next week’s forecasted winter weather that could bring icy road conditions and another dumping of snow.
Many East Texas districts have announced they will switch to virtual learning only for either all or part of next week due to the wintry weather mix headed this way, while other districts are waiting until next week to make the final call.
Marshall ISD officials announced Friday all campuses will switch to remote learning from home for Tuesday and the district would later evaluate weather conditions for the remainder of the week. The district is already scheduled to have students out of school on Monday due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.
“Due to the increasing likelihood of inclement winter weather early next week, Marshall ISD has announced that all campuses will switch to remote learning only on Tuesday, Feb. 16,” the district announced. “Teachers at all campuses will provide remote learning activities and lessons to their students, who will be expected to complete the assignments as normal. Students who do not have access to technology at home will be required to complete the assignments when in-person school resumes.”
If possible, campus and central office administration and staff will be on campuses Tuesday. After Tuesday, the district will re-evaluate forecasted weather conditions and make a call at that time for the remainder of the week.
“We will evaluate weather conditions on a daily basis,” Marshall ISD Interim Superintendent Glenn Hambrick said. “Based on the current forecasts, it is likely that remote learning could be extended further into the week. The decision on whether to continue remote learning or return to school beyond Tuesday will be made at a reasonable time prior to the next instructional day.”
Hambrick said Tuesday or any following days of remote learning that may be required next week are not “weather days” and will not have to be made up on the school calendar year later in the spring.
Hallsville ISD students are already slated to be out of school on Monday and Tuesday due to the Presidents’ Day holiday on Monday and a staff work day on Tuesday.
Hallsville ISD Superintendent Jeff Collum said Friday a decision will be made next week for Wednesday through Friday as they continue to monitor weather conditions.
Harleton ISD students are already scheduled to be out of school all next week due to their regularly scheduled winter break, Harleton ISD Superintendent Jay Ratcliff said.
Jefferson ISD Superintendent Rob Barnwell on Friday said due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases at the district, as well as the forecasted winter weather, all campuses will switch to remote learning only for all of next week.
“An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases at Jefferson ISD has begun to seriously affect our ability to function at a productive level on our campuses,” Barnwell said Friday. “Multiple absences continue to be our biggest issue. Over the past several days, we have experienced an increase in the number of positive test results related to COVID-19, along with a higher number of students and staff who are exhibiting symptoms. Those individuals, along with those who are deemed close contacts with others who have tested positive, represent the majority of those who are absent from work/school.”
Barnwell said while he agrees face to face instruction is best for student learning, due to the high number of COVID-19 related absences and the winter weather forecasted for our area next week, the district will switch to virtual learning from home for next Monday through Friday, with the anticipation to return to normal, in classroom learning on Feb. 22.
“There is a chance there will be power outages across the region. If this occurs, we understand that doing school work remotely (through the use of technology devices) will be very difficult, if not impossible, for many of our students,” he said. “Please know that Jefferson ISD school officials will use common sense when considering those situations regarding school assignments, grades, etc. All students who participate in UIL or other extra-curricular activities will be contacted by coaches and/or sponsors in order to communicate information related to practices, games, and other events.”
Barnwell also said the district will provide hot spots and technology devices to those students in need, as well as meals each day next week, weather permitting.
“We expect to deliver meals beginning Tuesday morning,” he said. “Those deliveries will be done by utilizing our normal bus routes and dropped off at the routine stops. Expect delivery times to be approximately 2 hours later than the normal (morning) pick-up times. Please understand that if the roads become dangerous due to icy conditions, we will not be able to deliver meals. We will also plan to have food available for pick up here at school beginning Tuesday.”
Food pick up times at the campuses are:
Jefferson High School Campus: Parent Pick-up Line from 8am- 10:30 am.
Jefferson Elementary Campus: Front of the school near the flag pole from 8 am-10:30 am. (Students/Parents from all campuses may pick up from either of these two sites).
Waskom ISD officials announced Friday the district will be closed on Monday and switch to virtual only for Tuesday, due to the incoming winter weather.
“Waskom ISD will be closed on Monday and beginning Tuesday, we will switch to online learning until it is safe to return to school,” Waskom ISD Superintendent Rae Ann Patty said Friday. “We will monitor the weather each day and notify our parents when it is safe to return for in-person instruction.”
Elysian Fields ISD
Elysian Fields ISD officials announced Friday the district will switch to remote learning from home for Tuesday through Thursday next week.
The district’s students are already scheduled to be out of school on Monday for the Presidents’ Day holiday.
“Students will either complete virtual assignments or paper packets on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and we will make a decision about Friday later in the week,” district officials said Friday.
Karnack ISD Superintendent Amy Dickson said Friday the district will switch to remote learning for all of next week due to the incoming winter weather.
“For the safety of our students and staff, Karnack ISD will move from in-class instruction to remote instruction for the week of Feb. 15-19,” she said. “Each teacher will be sending home either a chromebook and instructions, or a paper packet. Please know that our expectations are for kids to enjoy the snow and have some fun, while still being accountable for the assignments by the time they return to school on Monday, Feb. 22. Attendance will be taken based on work completed.”
Karnack ISD buses, which run in conjunction with Jefferson ISD buses, will not run next week as Jefferson ISD has also switched to virtual learning only from home for all of next week.