What will the 2020-2021 school year bring?
This is a question weighing heavily on the minds of many educators, parents and students.
On June 13, parents of students attending Jourdanton ISD were asked to fill out a 10-question survey regarding the upcoming school year. It stated responses would help JISD plan for several scenarios in case JISD is unable to operate in a traditional school setting.
Parents were asked to consider what options were best for their family, based on the information they have regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Along with the grade level of their child, parents were asked to choose:
•To send my child to school part-time, with distance learning on the other days.
•To send my child to school full-time. •To homeschool my child.
•To have my child stay with distance learning, completing online school work from home with teacher monitoring and other supports.
•To have my child stay with distance learning and do schoolwork using paper learning packets, with teacher monitoring.
The survey goes on to state if public health rules call for a reduced number of students in the classroom, a blended model of instruction may be needed, which would include some distance learning time with in-person classroom time. Parents are asked what option best suits them, if this becomes a requirement for any part of the school year. Choices include:
•Students attend a half-day program (either morning or afternoon) that meets five days per week with online supplemental supports.
•Students attend only two days each week and then supplement with online supports on the other days.
•Students attend for only certain circumstances or classes (hands-on classes, special needs classes, small group tutoring) and learn at home for other content.
•I have no preference.
Questions followed on whether or not blended models of instruction would cause childcare issues, what practices would enhance their child’s learning experience, as well as plans for the fall for those who need district busing for transportation.
Parents were also asked what concerned them the most, as they consider whether or not to send their children to school. They were able to select more than one answer, with options being:
•Social distancing is not realistic.
•Children obligated to wear masks.
•Sick individuals possibly coming to school.
•My child has existing health problems.
•Siblings need to be on the same schedule.
•Distance learning did not work for my child.
•School setting is not sanitary enough to feel safe.
•I do not have any COVID 19 concerns.
Lastly, parents were asked whether they have Internet service at home and a device their child can use to complete online assignments.
Shortly after the survey was sent, JISD Superintendent Theresa McAllister released a letter to JISD parents and guardians expressing that she knows there are many questions surrounding the beginning of the school year and that parents are anxious for answers.
“As we prepare for the fall, there is still a lot of uncertainty. There are a number of decisions to be made and we are awaiting guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and our local health officials,” wrote McAllister.
“I want to assure you that Jourdanton ISD continues to monitor the situation. I attend weekly meetings with the Commissioner of Education and the Education Service Center, Region 20.”
The letter goes on to state that they anticipate the coming school year may look different than in the past. JISD expects to receive guidance soon from the state and TEA and is planning for many different scenarios, to include in-person classes, distance learning and/or a combination of both.
“What we do know is that we are planning to start school as scheduled on Aug. 11. Safety measures to open schools, such as temperature checks, masks, reduced class sizes, etc. have not been finalized as the COVID 19 pandemic continues to evolve. We continue to work with our local and state health officials to determine the best practices for maintaining the health and safety of our employees and students,” wrote McAllister. “Please continue to check our website and social media channels for the most up-todate information. As we receive guidance and decisions are made, we will inform our community.”
On Tuesday, McAllister reported JISD had received over 600 responses.
Among her findings in the survey:
•The majority of responses indicated parents would like to send their children back to school full-time.
•There seems to be a fairly even split on the instructional model parents would prefer. The models included: half-day, two days per week, only for certain circumstances. An equal amount of responses also indicated parents had no preference.
•Many responses indicated there would be no issues with day care for their children if the district went to a blended model for instruction.
•A little more than half the responses indicated there would not be a problem with transporting their children to school, while about one third of the responses showed a need for the district transportation services.
•A few of the greatest concerns were sick individuals coming to school, realistically social distancing children, and children obligated to wear masks.
•Right at 90% indicate they have internet service at home along with a device in order for their children to complete the assignments.