JISD plans to reopen Aug. 11; option of in-person or virtual learning



 

 

At the Jourdanton ISD Board of Trustees regular meeting on July 14, Jourdanton ISD Superintendent Theresa McAllister announced the district plans to reopen its doors for in-person instruction on Aug. 11.

Regarding the 2020- 2021 school year, parents will have the option between sending their child to school Monday- Friday, all day with safety precautions in place or choosing remote-learning full time, online live learning and/or recorded instruction.

On July 1, parents in the Jourdanton school district were sent a short survey on which of the above learning environments they would prefer for their child. The results- 65 percent responded they would like for their child to return to attending school inperson, while 35 percent chose virtual learning for their child.

McAllister explained that if a parent chooses virtual learning for their child, that student needs to remain learning at home for the remainder of that six weeks. In other words, if a student starts out a specific six weeks learning online at home, that student cannot change their mind during the six weeks and start attending school in-person.

However, if a student is attending school in-person and they change their mind and decide they want to learn at home, they may do so, even during the six weeks. A student cannot change their mind back and forth though, and decide one day they want to come to school in-person and then learn at home the next.

“We have established that we are going to do face-to-face instruction and then asynchronous remote instruction,” said McAllister. “One of the main things is, we’re required to have this plan, but due to the changing of the virus and the spread and the positive cases, it makes it very hard for us to put anything definitive in place because everything is changing frequently,” said McAllister.

The district plans out what they want, with the realization that they may need to make changes along the way.

“We want our parents, community and our staff to feel like when they come to school that it is a safe place. So it’s very important to convey that message.”

The school is required by the Texas Education Agency to teach all the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), which are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do. JISD is planning to use Canvas, explained McAllister, which is a learning management system to provide a way for teachers to be able to do that, to teach like they would if the kids were sitting in a chair in the classroom.

Another big topic is whether or not JISD students who are learning at home will be able to participate in extracurricular activities, such as athletics, Academic UIL, ag, band, etc.

While UIL officials announced recently that remote learning students may participate in extracurricular activities, the decision is ultimately up to the district.

“Our take on it is, it is a local decision. We can allow students to participate if they are remote, in the extracurricular activities or not,” McAllister said.

While there are different thoughts on the matter, JISD has not yet reached a decision. McAllister plans to meet with extracurricular staff at the end of the week.

“Hopefully we will come up with a decision that we’re all comfortable with that we can all support and all deal with when it comes up. Let’s say your star running back or first chair trumpet player that you need, or your best UIL Academic student decides to be at home and learn remotely– we’ve got to be consistent. So that is going to be a tough decision to make. Of course we want to do what’s best for the students, but sometimes you’ve got to make a tough decision. So we’ll know that later in the week,” said McAllister.

She also discussed how different school districts are pushing the start date back.

“We’re trying to stick with, let’s get them in here and get them started. We hear a lot of feedback from parents and that is one thing that they are saying. ‘Get them in school and get them going.’ Of course, with safety precautions. With everything changing, who knows what the Governor or the Commissioner of Education is going to say in the next few weeks,” said McAllister.

“So we are going to go ahead and prepare and be ready for kids on Aug. 11. Like I said, it could change.”

Other business

The Trustees did unanimously approve an easement to the City of Jourdanton for .01 acres, at the intersection of La Garde. This is necessary for the city’s project in which it will redo and widen the two streets, as well as fix that drainage.

The Trustees also approved the Student Code of Conduct, which is required annually. They also reviewed the employee handbook for the upcoming school year.

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