FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(July 15, 2020) – Spring Branch ISD leaders today released LearnSBISD, a 2020-2021 school year plan based on research, planning and input from district and campus leaders, community focus groups, family and employee-based surveys, instructional models, medical professionals, and guidance by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In just-released email and video messages, Superintendent Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D., told families and staff members that the district’s plan provides two excellent learning options, including in-person classes for students who return to school, or distance-based, home learning for families electing that choice as best for their children.
SBISD families will be asked under the plan to choose their initial, 9-weeks schooling option by July 31, via an online district tool called Skyward or paper-based forms. SBISD’s first day for in-person classes is Monday, August 17.
“LearnSBISD allows our schools to resume in-person learning with rigorous health and safety measures in place and provides an opportunity for families interested in distance learning,” Dr. Blaine said. “Both options provide families great instruction from our amazing educators, while also leveraging much that is the very same – carefully planned district curriculum, attendance requirements, counseling supports, and extracurricular and UIL activities.”
“Both learning options will be delivered with the same high-level expectations for staff and students regardless of the choice. We are excited at this time to welcome our students back to school on August 17,” Dr. Blaine also said.
In the event circumstances change and require that in-person instruction is delayed, all students will begin school in a virtual environment. For families who select in-person learning, this option will take effect once students are allowed to return to school.
LearnSBISD is based on the information, guidance and guidelines from local, state and national government and health agencies as of July 7, 2020. School districts are required by the State to offer an in-person, five-days a week option. LearnSBISD is subject to change based on updated guidance from local, state or national government or health agencies.
Two Learning Models Support Every Child
In addition to state and federal guidance and district study and input, the LearnSBISD plan rests on several key SBISD Commitments – to prioritize the health, well-being and safety of students, staff and families, and to provide the academic growth and social-emotional development students need and deserve, and their families expect.
The plan addresses four critical areas: health and safety; teaching and learning; family supports; and staying connected. These areas align with the district core values and its singular T-2-4 Goal to have all graduates attain either a technical certification, military service, or a two- or four-year college degree.
Family Choice is Focus of Two Learning Options
In-person learning is the key choice for families seeking that their children resume learning at school with robust health and safety measures in place, including the requirement that every student wear a face covering/mask in classrooms and indoor common spaces.
Distance learning is the option for families who wish for their children to learn online at home. Students follow a daily schedule – every class period, each day – with required participation in live, real-time learning with a teacher, known as synchronous instruction, and independent, or asynchronous, instruction including videos or audio recordings. SBISD teachers have received professional development related to online instruction ahead of the new school year.
Both learning options have similar attendance requirements, campus staff supports, student opportunities to participate in UIL and extracurricular activities, grading guidelines, and high expectations for staff and students. Meals will be provided in a grab-and-go manner for both learning options. (More information will be provided soon.)
SBISD families will complete a Learning Model Selection Form online or by submitting a paper form at the student’s campus by Wednesday, July 22. The final deadline is midnight July 31.
Robust Health and Safety Protocols
LearnSBISD’s health and safety protocols are designed to keep employees and students as safe as possible during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. SBISD health and safety protocols meet or exceed those established by TEA and are aligned with local, state and national guidelines. In addition, the district protocols have been reviewed by medical professionals.
The plan includes mitigation practices such as daily health screenings for all students and staff; hand sanitizing before entering campuses or boarding buses; an emphasis on personal hygiene and hand washing; and social distancing where possible or practical.
Importantly, all students and employees will be required to wear face coverings/masks in SBISD schools and district facilities, as well as on school buses.
Robust cleaning practices for facilities and buses are a priority. Protocols include the use of hospital-grade disinfectant for daily cleanings, as well as high-touch surfaces during regular school days.
To promote physical distancing, classrooms will be cleared of extra furniture; student desks will be placed as far apart as possible and face in one direction. Table seating may include plexiglass dividers. To promote physical distancing on buses, families will be encouraged to drop off or pick up their children, if possible.
Protocols also are in place for isolation, notification and return to school/work when a student or a staff member either displays symptoms, is diagnosed, or comes into close proximity to anyone who is diagnosed with the virus.
As a part of the plan, all SBISD families will sign a Health and Safety Protocol Acknowledgement form, supporting home rest and recovery for sick children.
Dr. Blaine expressed appreciation in her video remarks to parents and staff members for their kindness, patience and dedication to local education over recent months.
“I want to express my sincere and deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for your patience and support,” she said. “We know that this gives us the opportunity to have a great school year. All together, we’re going to do this and it’s going to be a wonderful year for our kids.”
- Learning plan