HOUSTON – Sept. 3, 2020 – Spring ISD announced a plan Thursday night that will bring students whose families want them to participate in on-campus instruction back to school starting Sept. 14.
“We’re taking a very intentional approach with our phased timeline,” said Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson. “We need to align with TEA requirements by giving parents an on-campus option, but we want to make sure we’re taking an approach that prioritizes health and safety.”
Under the plan, on Monday, Sept. 14 the district will welcome back CASE and Early Childhood Special Education students, as well as any students in prekindergarten through grade 2 whose families want in-person instruction.
The next group of students to return, on Monday, Sept. 21, will be students in grades 3-7 and grades 9 and 10. Lastly, on Monday, Sept. 28, students in grade 8 and grades 11 and 12 whose families want in-person instruction will return to school.
As these students transition back to campuses, all elementary and middle school students will return to a daily, on-campus schedule while high school students will return to a hybrid, alternating day schedule.
“While we continue to monitor public health conditions and recognize that Harris County still remains in the ‘red,’ we are encouraged that some recent data shows some positive trends for the Houston area,” Watson said. “This phased approach will allow us to ease back to on-campus routines with our new safety-first COVID-19 protocols in place. Our goal is to bring back all students whose families want in-person instruction by Monday, Sept. 28.”
He noted, however, that the return to school buildings is only for those parents who want it. The district will continue to provide remote instruction through Empowered Learning At-Home to all families who prefer to continue learning remotely. The district projects that about 50 percent of its 35,000 students will opt for a return to in-person school, with the rest choosing to continue learning from home.
However, if families change their minds, the district is offering more flexibility to move from remote to in-person instruction. Rather than having to wait until the end of a grading period, parents will be able to make the switch at any time, keeping in mind that campuses may need up to two weeks to adjust staffing and arrange bus transportation. Students always have the option to move from in-person to remote learning.
“Our goal is to give our families as much flexibility as possible during these challenging times,” Watson said. “We know remote learning is not a great fit for every student so we want to make it convenient for families to choose in-person if they prefer.”
In addition to outlining the return-to-school timeline, the district also unveiled a new website that will give families information about COVID-19 cases in the district at www.springisd.org/covidtracker. This dashboard, which includes data starting Aug. 17, will be updated nightly so that staff and families have real-time data.
“We want to be as transparent as possible with our families and communities about any confirmed cases in our schools and facilities,” Watson said. “We know this type of information is essential as families make decisions about how they want to learn.”
For families who may have questions about what school routines will look like once students return to campus, Watson urged them to view new videos that help illustrate some of the steps the district is taking to keep students and staff safe at: www.springisd.org/reopen.