KISD prepares for return to school

Sandra Sadek | Times Editorial Intern
Posted 7/15/20

Katy ISD has unveiled its Fall 2020 back to school program in line with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s direction to reopen school districts for in-person or virtual instruction during the COVID-19 …

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KISD prepares for return to school

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Katy ISD has unveiled its Fall 2020 back to school program in line with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s direction to reopen school districts for in-person or virtual instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katy ISD will offer parents and students in-person and virtual instruction options as well as implementing safety protocols to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Both instructional options will follow the KISD Board of Trustees’ 2020-2021 instructional calendar. The 2020-2021 academic year begins Aug. 19.

“Our priority is to ensure we have the mechanisms and protocols in place to protect the health of all learners and staff when they return to school,” said Superintendent Ken Gregorski in a press release.  “We will continue to keep our parents and staff up to date with the latest school district related information and guidance from the state and local health officials.”

Instruction options

The first option is in-person instruction which will include face-to-face instruction in addition to the digital learning management system, Canvas, in the event of a return to at-home instruction due to COVID-19. Daily attendance will be taken. The second option is the Katy Virtual Academy, in which students will be able to engage in two-way, real-time, live instruction with teachers through Canvas. All KVA classes follow the KISD curriculum, in line with the TEKS and Texas graduation requirements. Daily attendance will also be taken.

Parents may enroll their children into KVA for the fall 2020 semester by logging into PowerSchool.  The KVA enrollment option will open July 20 through Aug. 5, 2020.  Students who choose to begin the school year enrolled in KVA may elect to return to in-person instruction at the end of a secondary six-weeks and elementary nine-weeks grading period.  KVA enrolled students are not allowed to return to in-person instruction before the close of a grading period.

Students participating in both in-person and virtual instruction will follow the same grading guidelines. However, the attendance requirement for the fall 2020 final exam eligibility has been waived. High school students may exempt a final exam if semester average and behavior requirements are met. 

Safety protocols

To implement enhanced cleaning procedures between each bus trip, bell schedules for both in-person and virtual instruction have been adjusted to maintain hygiene protocols.

  • High School: 7:15 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
  • Elementary 1: 7:55 a.m. – 3:05 p.m.
  • Elementary 2: 8:25 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.
  • Junior High: 8:55 a.m. – 4:05 p.m.

In compliance with Gov. Abbott’s executive order requiring the wearing of masks, KISD has put in place safety guidelines for returning students and staff. These guidelines are subject to change as the status of the virus changes.

Facial coverings are required for all district staff as well as students grades 4 through 12. For students pre-k through grade 3, face coverings are encouraged. Instructional day temperature checks will be required for new district enrollees and late arrival students.

As part of the protocol, no outside food or gift deliveries will be accepted and all visitors non-essential to school operations will not have access to the campus. This includes the first day of school and scheduled mealtimes. All parents and volunteers will be required to conduct campus visits either by phone, virtually, or by pre-scheduling an appointment. There will be no student field trips or large group gatherings or events.

Food Service

Following the district’s safety protocol, all KISD Nutrition and Food Service staff will use face shields, facial coverings and gloves when working. Cafeteria serving and eating areas will be disinfected daily and between uses. Grab N Go carts will also be utilized at certain designated campuses to minimize cafeteria lines and maintain social distancing.

Students may be directed to eat in various locations throughout the building to maximize social distancing. Parents are encouraged to use the Pay N’ Go mobile app to provide student meal money. Visit http://www.katyisd.org/PNG/ for more information.

Staff

All staff will report onsite to their assigned work location. This includes KVA teachers, who will need to report to an assigned campus classroom to provide online instruction and/or a combination of in-person and virtual classes. A daily self-screening for symptoms will be required before arriving to work.

All business travel must be pre-approved by department Cabinet members and large staff gatherings, including professional development should be held virtually.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing any related symptoms, they will need to stay home and submit a COVID-19 Positive Self-Reporting notification via the Katy Cloud. For more information, visit http://www.katyisd.org/returntoschool/Pages/Staff.aspx.

UIL and Non-UIL activities

All UIL activities will be conducted in line with UIL guidelines and COVID-19 protocols. Non-UIL student programs will have to follow the same protocols and guidelines. Face coverings are to be implemented as feasible.

The Katy Times will continue to update this story on our website at katytimes.com as more information become available and will have follow up stories leading up to school reopening.

KatyISD, KISD, back to school, fall 2020, coronavirus, online instruction

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