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July 14 Update to Families

I know that there is a lot of uncertainty and questions around planning for the new school year, and I want you to know that you’re on our minds as we work. As we make progress in our preparations for the start of school, I want to assure you that we are committed to making decisions and plans that are rooted in our district’s vision and beliefs, prioritize the safety of our students and staff, and uphold our desire to communicate regularly with you. 

I want to begin today’s information by sharing some dates that may be of interest: 

By July 20
We plan to launch a second survey to solicit additional feedback. The circumstances around COVID-19 change daily, and we want you to continue to have voice in our decisions. 

July 21
We will be emailing detailed information on our remote learning and on-campus learning options including how to enroll for each.

July 23 and 27
We will be inviting you to two Parent Information/Q&A Sessions to learn more about your options to help inform your enrollment decisions. Look for details in next week’s email about how you can watch the live session and submit questions and comments. 

August 3
Campus-level plans will be released.

August 6
Deadline to enroll your child for on-campus or remote learning.

We’re also launching an FAQ online at www.georgetownisd.org/COVIDFAQs today that we hope you’ll reference often for more information. This document will be updated frequently, and it’s structured in a way that will indicate to you when an item is updated, so we hope you’ll find it useful. You can always send us inquiries through Let’s Talk.

Next week’s email will include a detailed plan for both on-campus and remote learning. At that time, we will also share information on how to enroll your child for one of those two options. What we know about those options right now:

ON CAMPUS LEARNING

  • Expect an increase in safety protocols that allow for safe physical distancing during most activities; plexiglass at reception areas, increased signage to help remind everyone about safe practices, and other adjustments to our facilities and routines that will support health.
  • Most of the questions we heard about wearing masks were from our elementary parents and teachers. While we are subject to the current mask order set forth by the State, students under age 10 may not be required to wear masks and there are exceptions for people with medical conditions or disabilities, during outdoor activities, athletics and more. We will have more information on this soon and in our FAQs.
  • You may have seen coverage on the district’s partnership with the Georgetown Health Foundation to provide face shields to health care providers and first responders in Williamson County. Similar face shields are now in production for our student body and staff as an alternative to traditional face coverings. Our design complies with CDC recommendations and allows you to see expressions while still offering protection. 
  • In a 1:1 environment, all students will use technology devices throughout their school day. Students will be assigned a device and encouraged to take them home daily. 
  • In the event that a student needs to stay home for a period of time, they will have the technology tools and instructional supports needed to continue learning from home until they are able to return to school. 

REMOTE LEARNING

  • Students may be assigned a device, and WiFi hotspots if needed, so they can connect for remote learning. 
  • Some students and parents indicated frustration in navigating too many technology apps and services during spring distance learning. As a result, we are working to reduce the number of applications students are expected to use and streamlining the delivery of classes. 
  • We are working now to develop Parent Information Sessions to help empower parents with the information and tools they need to support their students’ learning. We expect to launch these events during the first week of August. You’ll hear more about these soon! 
  • One of the biggest questions we’ve heard from families considering remote learning is about participation in extracurricular activities. We know this is an important part of the public education experience! The University Interscholastic League announced Friday that students participating in remote learning may participate in UIL activities if they meet all other UIL eligibility requirements. We should have additional information soon related to what you can expect for other non-UIL activities. 

OTHER

  • Families will be asked to make a commitment to a format of learning for the start of the school year by August 6 (two weeks before the start of the school year).  Details on the process for making a commitment will be shared on July 21.  In most cases, families will be asked to commit to in-person or remote learning by grading period.
  • Attendance will be recorded daily for all students. Details will be provided on how we will record attendance for students who are learning from home. 
  • Grading policies will be consistent for both in-person and remote learners and will follow our standard grading policy
  • Our team is reviewing and evaluating the most effective and appropriate assessment practices for when school resumes.  More information will be provided in the coming weeks.  Assessments will be administered in-person or remotely as necessary. 

Many campus procedures, like daily meal service, recess for elementary, transitions between classes, drop-off/pick-up and tutoring will vary by campus. Principals are working on those now and will be communicating details to their campus communities on August 3.

We’re working as quickly as we can to create plans that allow for delivering high-quality learning in the safest environment for everyone. Thank you for your patience and support as we adapt how we deliver education for every learner. It’s my sincere hope that you and your family are well. 

Fred Brent
Georgetown ISD Superintendent

Video Message to Families