HALLSVILLE — Harrison county’s largest school district recently announced its plan to reopen its campuses for the 2020-21 school year.
Hallsville ISD officials released the district’s reopen plan on Friday via the district’s website and posted a reminder that new student registration wraps up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. All students needing to register after today must call their respective campuses and schedule an individual appointment.
“As a school district, Hallsville ISD looks forward to welcoming students back to school on Aug. 13,” the district said. “Despite the challenges with COVID-19, our district will continue to provide an excellent education to our students, which will include both in-person and remote learning environments. As the public health crisis continues, we have been planning for the opening of the 2020-21 school year with a focus on the health, safety and well-being of our staff, students and community.”
While the Texas Education Agency continues to offer updated information to districts, Hallsville ISD officials said parents should remain flexible in their expectations as guidelines change due to the ongoing pandemic.
“The situation with COVID-19 is continuously changing, as are the protocols and measures needed to keep students and staff safe,” the district said. “Plans will remain flexible to accommodate potential changes and these guidelines may be modified as needed. As adjustments may be necessary throughout the coming school year, it will be our priority to keep the community informed of those changes and updates. The Hallsville ISD website will provide you with the most up-to-date information.”
Parents and guardians may choose between in class instruction for their students or online only, remote instruction. Students participating in online only instruction may not participate in UIL/extra-curricular activities unless the practices or contests can be conducted virtually, though Hallsville ISD Band Director Sherri Morgan clarified this week that rule does not apply to band, which is considered co-curricular. The extra-curricular part of band, which includes marching, contests and football games, is not permitted for online only students.
As part of the district’s reopen plan, all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students must wear masks or face shields while at school or on the bus and students and teachers will follow social distancing guidelines while in the classroom. The district will also host hand-washing and sanitizing breaks for students throughout the day.
Online and in person students will both use Google Classroom and online students must check in for attendance daily.
Daily cleaning of classrooms will take place across the district and for classrooms that have multiple changes of students per day, the classrooms will be disinfected after each class.
If a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed, parents will be notified through Skyward or email and the classroom of the confirmed student will go through a disinfection followed by a deep cleaning.
Prior to opening, the district conducted an online survey of parents and guardians this summer to determine how many were interested in online instruction this fall and if they had the technology required for their student to participate in online learning.
As of July 16, 3,315 parents had responded to the survey and 75 percent of those respondents said they had a computer at home, while 57 percent said that computer must be shared with another member of the household. The survey also showed 87 percent of respondents have Internet access at home, but only 16 percent plan to use the online school learning option this fall and 84 percent plan to send their children to school.
“In preparation for effective planning in each key area of work, it was critical to receive feedback from our families and staff regarding their preliminary intentions in regards to returning to school in person or virtually, as well as potential areas of technological needs,” the district said. “This data was then dis-aggregated and analyzed in an effort to plan for the fall with a lens of continuous improvement.
Students will only be allowed to switch their learning models, from in person to online or vice versa, at the end of a grading period. Should another school shut down be mandated throughout the school year, all students will continue their learning online through Google classroom. If a student becomes sick and must stay at home, or quarantine, they can continue their learning online via Google classroom.
Honors, AP and dual credit courses will be available in both online and in person learning options while CTE (Career and Technology Education) courses will require some face to face instruction.
Students choosing online instruction but needing a device will be loaned a Chromebook device from the district.
For in classroom students, parents must self-screen their students, including taking their temperature, each day before sending them to school. Students must provide their own masks and they must be worn while in class and in hallways. Students needing a mask or face shield may contact their campus administrators.
Students violating the face mask requirement will first be given a verbal warning and given a mask to wear. On the second verbal warning, the student must purchase a mask from the district and on the third violation, the student will be assigned online at home learning for the remainder of the grading period.
Visitors not essential to school activity will not be allowed on campus at this time.
Buses will be sanitized after each route and social distancing guidelines will be followed on the buses.
For a full list of back to school guidelines and protocols, visit the district’s website at https://www.hisd.com/