Conroe ISD Addresses 2020/2021 School Year in Live Update
CONROE, TX – On Monday, July 13, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., Dr. Curtis Null, Conroe ISD Superintendent, provided a live update on the district’s YouTube channel. Parents and guardians were able submit questions and comments for Dr. Null to address during the update on Conroe ISD’s “Roadmap to Reopening” website, which was made available Friday afternoon. During the update, Dr. Null stated the district received over 1,000 emails with questions.
As noted in the “Roadmap to Reopening” webpage, Dr. Null reiterated the district will provide traditional in-person instruction and online instruction. Only in special circumstances a hybrid model will be used, when the traditional in-person instruction model is interrupted for a period of time and students and staff temporarily convert to remote/distance learning model.
Dr. Null noted that decisions about the district were based on several constraints, including TEA and local and federal government regulations.
Dr. Null stressed that although much is unknown at this point, it is important for parents to model positivity for their children and understand that this is a changing situation.
Another change during COVID-19 is that Dr. Null, as Superintendent, no longer has the authority to close schools. Only the governor or local health department may do so. The only time the district has any flexibility is the first 3 weeks of school. Dr. Null may choose to do what is best for the district in this timeframe, which can include the hybrid model, online only, etc.
In addition, Conroe ISD must follow the governor’s mask guidelines, which currently dictate masks be worn indoors.
- School Closure for Positive Test: If anyone at the school tests positive for COVID-19, the school will not necessarily close. The school may close if anyone is in “close contact,” as defined by TEA, with the individual who tested positive. A school closure will last 14 days. Dr. Null stressed if PPE is in place, this will reduce the amount of “close contact” closures. TEA’s definition of “Close Contact” is:
- being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield); or
- being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask or face shield; if either occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious.
- Individuals are presumed infectious at least two days prior to symptom onset or, in the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, two days prior to the confirming lab test.
- PPE: PPE will be required for those 10 and older in the building as per Governor Abbott’s regulations. Dr. Null suggests parents practice using PPE with young children before school starts.
- Enrollment: An enrollment email will be sent to parents/guardians on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. To help the district begin assessing needs, Dr. Null requested parents respond as soon as possible. The deadline for responses is July 28 at midnight.
- Enrollment Commitment: A commitment regarding online or in-person instruction will only be for 9 weeks, not all year. Due to staff and supply considerations, the district is unable to accommodate switching instruction options before a semester is completed. If a student is sent home due to exposure or testing positive for COVID-19, they will be able to switch to online instruction be counted as attending when online. TEA has not allowed this option in the past.
- Lunch: Social distancing will be in place at lunch. Some schools may have to use a hallway, classroom, outside, or other options that are being worked through at this time.
- Hybrid Model of Instruction: There will be no hybrid instruction model (some days at home, some days in class) at Conroe ISD, as this is not allowed by the State of Texas.
- Class Size: The district will be social distancing at all campuses and this will change class size. The district anticipates many students will not return, which will create space; however, more details will not be known until parents provide their commitment.
- Transportation: Buses will continue to run and every effort will be made to create social distancing on buses. The district cannot add buses or drivers at this time, but can try to balance routes. Children will need to bring PPE on bus. Dr. Null encouraged parents to bring their kids to school if at all possible.
- Notifications: The district will give notifications about positive tests even if the school does not close. The website will be updated daily. Dr. Null noted that the webpage applies to all 64 campuses.
- Cleaning: Conroe ISD has hired extra cleaning personnel and will be e-misting and fogging every building every night. An MSDS sheet of chemicals in the e-mist will be available on the website soon. There will be additional sanitizer stations, and more check-ins with students to wash their hands. Any shared materials will be cleaned before next use.
- Visitors: Parents and visitors will not be allowed on campus for any reason, including lunch with students, reading to students, etc. Educational meetings such as ARD meeting will be allowed.
- UIL: UIL events have begun. UIL has not canceled activities yet and given no indication of doing so; however, the district will have to limited crowds in stands.
- Schedules: The district needs all student’s commitments in before schedules can be determined. To create a schedule, the district must first need to know how many kids are going to school, which won’t occur until July 28.
- School Calendar: All students, regardless of which instructional option they choose, must adhere to the regular approved calendar. School breaks, time of school, and length of school day will remain the same.
- Online Instruction: The district is working to make this option comparable to in-person instruction, while trying to not overburden families, or make children spend too much time on a computer. This will likely be 3 hours a day of instruction time for elementary students, and 4 hours for secondary students. There may be live lessons and video lessons. Attendance must be taken daily according to TEA and its 90% rule of attendance will be enforced. Students must do school work during the day, and cannot save all work until the weekend. Students must check in every day and be engaged to be counted present. The online option in the fall will be the full curriculum, which will different than the reduced curriculum provided in the spring. Students may have different teachers from different schools teaching online classes.
- Extracurriculars & Special Classes: For special classes such as band, labs, etc., Conroe ISD can accommodate students coming up to school for these classes. However, the student will have to provide their own transportation.
- Teachers/Employees: Teachers will NOT have to use personal time off if sent home due to close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. If a teacher is teaching a class online, they will still likely be in the building. Principals will decide which teachers are teaching online based on several factors.
- Bond Money: Bond money cannot be used for anything COVID-19 related.
Parents are encouraged to continue to submit questions at www.conroeisd.net/roadmap-to-reopening on the bottom of the page.