2021-2022 Start of School Plan
Instructional Information for Families
Georgetown ISD will be returning to fully face-to-face learning for all GISD students in the fall of 2021. We are excited to welcome all of our students back to campus and do not anticipate offering remote learning. We do understand, however, that some students and families may still be seeking greater flexibility with their school schedules due to continued health concerns. For students in grades 9-12, we encourage parents to reach out to Richarte High School to explore options provided through the GISD high school of choice.
If students are sent home or stay home for illness or suspected illness, parents should contact the campus for make-up learning and assignments.
As the district transitions back to all in-person learning, we will continue to provide each student with a Chromebook. Hotspots may be made available on a very limited basis to current GISD students. Students should notify a teacher or school administrator if their family has no internet access options at home. The school will give the student an application for parents to complete for hotspot lending.
In most cases, learning devices are turned in at the end of the school year for maintenance and upgrades. Any student or staff member who is in possession of a GISD-issued device that is not needed is encouraged to return it to a campus or department. Exceptions:
- Staff who have a district laptop only need to turn in devices upon separation from the district.
- Students enrolled in ACC courses keep their Chromebook to complete college-level courses.
Students will be reissued their Chromebook at the start of each school year.
Protocols for Safe and Healthy Schools
The district may need to change protocols at any time to address specific needs and circumstances in order to protect the health and safety of students, employees and the community. Georgetown ISD will continue to seek guidance from governmental agencies including the Williamson County and Cities and Health District (WCCHD), Texas Education Agency (TEA), and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The district will comply with applicable federal and state employment and disability laws, workplace safety standards, and accessibility standards to address individual needs. Updates to safety protocols will be posted on our website as needed.
Protocols for Screening and Isolation
Screening Protocols for Students
- Parents should screen students at home for any COVID-19 symptoms before school each day. According to the Public Health Guidance from TEA released on August 5, 2021, “Parents must ensure they do not send a child to school on campus if the child has COVID-19 symptoms or is test-confirmed with COVID-19.”
- For questions regarding attendance procedures, you may contact your campus with questions or review the Student Handbook.
- Parents should follow the Student Process Map if their child is showing symptoms or has tested positive for COVID -19.
- Parents should notify the campus if their student has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 so the campus can begin to gather curriculum-related materials for the student during their absence.
- Due to the close proximity required of some sports and the amount of time student athletes spend together, athletic groups may require daily screening protocols of student athletes.
Screening Protocols for Staff
- Staff will also need to self screen before coming to work each day. Staff should not report to work if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. The Employee Process Map should be followed by all employees.
- Employee questions regarding absence procedures should be directed to staff supervisors or Human Resources. Employees will continue to report cases using the Employee Reporting Form. Any work missed for COVID reasons should be marked as “Covid” in the reason code for an employee’s time off request in Skyward.
- If students display symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, the school nurse will provide a clinical assessment to determine if and when a student needs to be sent home.
- If a student is displaying COVID-19 symptoms and we suspect they have COVID-19, they must follow the Student Process Map (see link above) including adherence to one of the three return to school protocols:
- Provide a negative PCR test to the school nurse and have improved symptoms,
- Provide a written alternate diagnosis from a doctor’s office to the school nurse, or
- Isolate at home for at least 10 days and return with improved symptoms (including being 24 hours fever free without fever-reducing medications).
- An individual with symptoms, who is not suspected of having COVID-19, may return by following normal protocols for student post-illness return.
- If an individual who has been in a school or district facility is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, the school must notify its local health department and DSHS, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Per the Department of State Health Services, students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be permitted to return to school when they have met all of the following requirements:
- They are 1 day (24 hours) fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication; and
- Improved symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing, etc.); and
- 10 days have passed since symptoms began.
- Students or staff who have tested positive and are asymptomatic for COVID-19 will be permitted to return to school or work 10 days from the positive test date.
- If a student or staff member tests positive, campus administration will communicate via email with families and staff members who shared the same classroom with the COVID-19 positive individual.
- Individuals who participate in a team, club, and/or organization where a positive COVID-19 case has been confirmed will be notified via email of the positive case.
- GISD will maintain an online dashboard to document positive cases by district location or campus beginning August 19, 2021. The dashboard will be updated daily unless the district is closed for a weekend or holiday break.
For Students Who are Close Contacts (NOT in the household)
Per the August 5th Public Health Order from the Texas Education Agency, “Parents of students who are determined to be close contacts of an individual with COVID-19 may opt to keep their students at home during the recommended stay-at-home period.
For individuals who are determined to be close contacts, a 14 day stay-at-home period was previously advised by the CDC based on the incubation period of the virus. CDC has since updated their guidance, and the stay-at-home period can end for students experiencing no symptoms on Day 10 after close contact exposure, if no subsequent COVID-19 testing is performed.
Alternatively, students can end the stay-at-home period if they receive a negative result from a PCR acute infection test after the close contact exposure ends.”
For Students With a Positive Case in the Household
If someone in the student’s household has tested positive for COVID-19, the student is not permitted to attend school or after school functions. The following guidance should be followed:
- The student remains home to self-isolate for 10 days following their family member's symptom onset or positive test date, whichever is first. The student may test on Day 11 and return to school with a negative COVID-19 test result if they remain asymptomatic.
- A student does not need to test to return to school if they remain home to self-isolate for a period equal to 10 days plus an additional 10 days following the family member's onset of symptoms or confirmed positive test (a minimum of 20 days from the family member's first day of symptoms/positive test).
Vaccinated persons with exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine) AND have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure. It is recommended that fully vaccinated individuals get tested 5-7 days after close contact with a person suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Further, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 AND who meets the following criteria does NOT need to stay home (1) had COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months (confirmed with a doctor’s diagnosis or positive test result); (2) has recovered; and (3) remains without COVID-19 symptoms.
It’s important to note that if the student becomes symptomatic during the stay at home period, they must stay home and follow the guidelines as a "presumed positive" case as outlined in the student process map.
For Staff Who are Close Contacts
Per the August 19, 2021, Public Health Order from the Texas Education Agency, “For staff who meet the close contact threshold with a COVID-19 positive individual, if these staff continue to work on campus, rapid testing must be performed at the start of the day, at least once every other day until the end of day 10.”
In keeping with this guidance from TEA, GISD is providing free testing at a district site for any staff who have been determined to meet the close contact threshold with a COVID-19 individual. Staff members should complete an Employee Reporting Form and seek guidance from their direct supervisor on next steps to arrange for the required testing. Staff members must complete this testing requirement at one of the GISD testing sites and receive a negative test result prior to reporting to any on-campus assignment for the day. Employees must continue to test every other day until 10 days have passed since the last date of exposure to the COVID positive individual.
- Close Contact - Has been within six feet of a known COVID-19 positive individual for a cumulative period of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.
- Suspected of having COVID-19 - The individual has been assessed by a medical professional, including a GISD school nurse, and displays COVID-19 symptoms.
- Presumed Positive - The person is showing symptoms of COVID-19 with a confirmed exposure (close contact) to someone who is COVID-19 positive.
Protocols for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive orders regarding the wearing of masks.
Per GA-38, the Governor’s Order signed into effect on July 29, 2021:
“In areas where the COVID-19 transmission rate is high, individuals are encouraged to follow the safe practices they have already mastered, such as wearing face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household, but no person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering.”
“No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district, and public health authority, and no governmental official may require any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering”
The current Governor’s order encourages the use of masks in areas where COVID-19 transmission is high. It also prevents school districts from either requiring or prohibiting the use of masks in their facilities. We know our families and staff are making very personal decisions to them on this issue, and we are committed to maintaining a culture of value and respect on our campuses and in our classrooms regardless of their personal decision.
Protocols for Disinfecting and Hand Washing
Frequent disinfection and hand sanitization will contribute to the positive health and wellness of students and staff.
Hand Washing/Sanitizing Expectations
- Hand sanitizer will be available at the main entry to each campus and district facility, classroom, cafeteria, and other common areas.
- Staff and students will be expected to regularly wash or sanitize their hands.
Protocols for Campus Cleaning and Disinfecting
Frequent cleaning and disinfection will support a healthy learning and work environment for students and staff. The district will continue to supply adequate cleaning and disinfectant supplies for all district facilities. To the greatest extent possible, GISD upgraded air filtration systems on campuses.
Protocols for Bus Cleaning and Disinfecting
School Buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Buses will also have face masks and hand sanitizing stations available if needed by students.
Resources for Mental Health
School counselors will provide support to all students through their comprehensive guidance program. This includes working with students through large group instruction and/or working with classroom teachers to meet the personal/social needs of students.
Those students who need more specific mental health support can receive a referral to school-based therapy through their school counselor. In addition to school-based therapy, school counselors can connect families to Care Solace. Through a partnership with Care Solace, students, staff, and families of students in need of community-based mental health support can utilize this referral service. Care Solace will work with individuals or families to understand their needs. They will then work to find well-vetted mental health supports that meet the level of support, financial, and logistical needs of the family.
Resources for Testing and Vaccinations
Students, staff, and the families of students and staff may receive testing through the Lone Star Circle of Care located at Richarte High School. To set up an appointment with Lone Star Circle of Care they can be reached at 512-688-6250. Lone Star Circle of Care can also assist families and staff in setting up appointments at their Williams Drive location to get vaccinated. Other testing sites for Williamson County include:
- Mondays - COVID-19 vaccine available at Cedar Park Public Health Center
- Tuesdays & Thursdays - COVID-19 vaccine available at Georgetown Public Health Center
- Wednesday - COVID-19 vaccine available at Taylor Public Health Center
For further questions, feel free to submit a Let’s Talk dialogue.