Gonzales Independent School District will continue its policy of not allowing visitors on campuses “until further notice” while COVID-19 numbers remain high in the local community — with some exceptions.
District board members voted unanimously to keep the policy in place until the district’s Health Advisory Committee, as well as local physicians and the chief of staff at Gonzales Healthcare Systems, advise it is safe to allow visitation again.
“After further consideration and visitation with our Health Advisory Committee, we are asking the board that we keep our ‘no visitors’ indefinitely until they're able to determine that the COVID numbers are better locally,” GISD Superintendent John Schumacher said. “As soon as we can have visitors on campus, we definitely will. We obviously want parents and visitors on our campuses as much as possible, seeing what the kids are doing.”
Schumacher said the exception will be made at elementary campuses when it comes to parent-teacher conferences, but there will be measures taken to make those on-campus visits as safe as possible.
“We are going to set up for some of the elementary schools where they’re going to set aside certain parent-teacher conferences, but they will be held with no children around and they will be segregated away from everyone and people will be screened properly so we can at least have some communication with parents. But we’re not going to just let people come up and bring lunch or have lunch,” Schumacher said.
District 4 Director Josie Smith-Wright questioned whether teachers would be allowed to have lunch delivered to the schools when students and parents are being told they cannot, as she had heard some parents asking that very question on Facebook.
“There should be no difference or you’re really going to have problems because if none is none, then none is none,” Smith-Wright said. “You can’t say none except for grown people because we may have 18- and 19-year-olds up here who want something brought up for lunch. We need to be clear on what we do, not say one thing and then straddle that fence. If you’re going to straddle that fence, then straddle it (for everybody).”
District trustees also voted unanimously to advertise the possible sale of the former administrative office complex at 1711 N. Sarah DeWitt Drive as well as a 0.75-acre portion of a parcel at 1801 N. Sarah DeWitt at the northwest corner of Seydler. Schumacher said the board will also be soliciting bids on the 11 acres on Robertson Street that was declared surplus in September 2017.
According to a resolution adopted by the board, the district has determine the property “is not necessary to meet the current and foreseeable needs of the district for educational purposes.”
The deed restrictions will include that the property cannot be used for any sexually oriented business; for the sale of alcoholic beverages, CBD, marijuana and/or tobacco, including vaping products; or for a pre-K through 12th grade educational facility, other than those owned and controlled by GISD.
The district will publish a request for bids in the Inquirer on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 and bids will be due at 2 p.m. Oct. 22. The board will meet in special session at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 to review and either accept or reject bids.
The board also adopted unanimously the rules of procedure and decorum for any possible redistricting after Schumacher had them reviewed by the district’s attorneys.
“They recommend we do this prior to (any redistricting) and that it is useful to consider one or more alternative plans for redrawing district political boundaries,” Schumacher said. “This states this is solely for the purpose of redistricting and doesn’t involve anything unless we get into redistricting.”