A special meeting was called Monday, Aug. 3 by the Gonzales Independent School District School Board to discuss returning to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as distribution of new technology purchased for students.
The district will give parents a grace period is determining if in-person or online instruction work best. The district will start reaching out to parents on Aug. 10.
Class are scheduled to start Aug. 17.
Superintendent John Schumacher said during his report that the board consulted with local physicians Humberto Rivas and Commie Hisey about reopening.
Hisey, who spoke at the meeting, encouraged the return to campus in light of increased reports of child abuse nationwide during the pandemic.
Hisey suggested teachers use a mixture of four teaspoons of bleach to a quart of water, which expires after 24 hours, to sanitize the desks of students. Hisey said this may be one of the most effective means of preventing the spread of coronavirus among school children.
Board members as well as staff and faculty discussed what safety precautions are being taken to ensure students are safe while on campus.
These measures include:
In person vs. online
Differences between choosing to attend school on site or online were also discussed, as well as some misconceptions about the way courses will be handled.
Students will still need to complete coursework every day in order to be counted present for attendance. If a student misses more than 10% of the school year and does not pass with at least 70% in their core subjects, they will not be permitted to advance to the next grade level.
For the purposes of receiving funding based on attendance, the Texas Education Agency will use the average of the last three years’ attendance rates.
There will be a grace period for parents to determine which method of learning works best for them and their children. For example, if a parent selects the asynchronous learning model but finds that their schedule is better suited to the synchronous on-site option, they will be allowed to switch.
In July, the board voted to provide each student in the district with either a Chromebook or an iPad based on grade level, and distribution plans are underway for them to be checked out to students beginning Aug. 17, with more detailed information to come.
Other agenda items which were discussed include: