Dear Boerne ISD Families,
We know the last six months have been very challenging for our Boerne ISD students, parents, and staff. There has been a constant wave of ever-changing information from many different levels. We appreciate your patience and support during this time.
On June 18th the Texas Education Agency informed all school districts in Texas that they must reopen to in-person learning. We realize some of our students are ready to return, but we also know some of our students are apprehensive about returning to the classroom. We are excited to safely start the 2020-21 school year on August 12th. With guidelines from the Governor, the Texas Education Agency, and other statewide and local entities, we have formed two options for families to select as required by the TEA: Traditional In-Person learning or the Boerne E-Learning Option.
After viewing our Boerne ISD 2020-21 Back to School Plan, families will select either the Traditional In-Person option or the Boerne E-Learning Option (Those are the two options required by the TEA). The selection period will run from Friday, July 17th to Sunday, July 26th. Families will make their selection on their child’s Skyward Family Access Account and will need to make a separate selection for each child in the family. Students will have the opportunity to transition between these models at the end of each nine-week grading period. Click here for "How to" instructions.
Please read through our back to school plan very carefully in order to make your selection. As always, our top priority is the safety of our students, families, and staff. We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19, while receiving updates from local, state and federal agencies.
Boerne ISD is providing information to parents, families, and the community regarding back-to-school plans and instruction through this initial document. As further required, one week prior to the start of school, a plan to mitigate COVID-19 will be disseminated via Skyward to all families and posted on the district and campus websites. Preliminary information is posted in this guidance and is subject to change based on state and local decisions.
COVID-19 Response Teams
Boerne ISD has developed a COVID-19 Strikeforce Team to respond to concerns and communicate district decisions. These teams included administrators, teachers, staff, and parents tackling topics such as operations, blended learning, parent involvement, classroom environment, extracurricular, and scheduling.
Prevent and Mitigate
Boerne ISD must identify and implement practices to prevent the virus from entering the school and mitigate or reduce the likely spread inside the school; therefore, district practices and guidelines have been established for various areas noted below:
HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDANCEHealth and Safety GuidanceSocial and Emotional Well-Being – The return to campus this August will be unlike any other in BISD history and is likely to be emotionally charged for both students and adults. Together, our Boerne ISD community will work to support our students, families, and staff through this challenging time. Building on the success of our Whole Child initiative begun in the 2019-2020 school year, BISD will continue to deepen our social and emotional skills and create equitable learning environments where all students and adults feel physically and psychologically safe and healthy. BISD’s Great 8 Skills developed within the contexts of classrooms, schools, and community may be familiar to our students, staff, and families but will take on deeper significance as we navigate a very different type of schooling. BISD’s Whole Child Counseling Team is always available to listen, share feelings, and offer support for every student. You can contact your counselor by calling their campus line or by submitting this Google form. Your counselor will get in touch with you soon.
Masks – For the purposes of this document, masks include non-medical and medical grade disposable face masks. (over the nose and mouth). *Note, gaiters are not permitted to be worn during the school day, with the exception of during after-school activities such as athletics and band performances.On August 12th, the CDC released new guidance that face-shields should not be used in K-12 settings without also wearing a face mask at the same time, unless developmentally appropriate.Schools are expected to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order No. GA-29 relating to the use of face coverings during the COVID- 19 disaster. Exceptions to this requirement include lunch breaks, when engaging in outdoor activities or when appropriate social distancing can be practiced.
What does developmentally appropriate mean? There will be times for instructional purposes when it is not in the best interest of the student for the teacher or child to have a mask on. For example, if the student and teacher need to be able to see the mouth of one another while sounding out words or if the student has a learning difference that would be hindered if the face and mouth were covered.Handwashing/Sanitizing - Students and staff are required to use hand sanitizer when entering a bus, building, classroom, and/or office. Frequent handwashing and sanitizing will also be incorporated in the daily schedules. Each classroom will be provided with sanitation kits that will be used during transitions. Buses, classrooms, and other common areas within the school will be thoroughly disinfected daily and deep cleaning schedules will be regularly conducted.Temperature Checks/Screening – Per Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, initial monitoring of symptoms begins at home. Individuals who are feeling ill, including symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle aches, or headache, should stay at home and consult with a medical professional regarding school participation.
Students PK-12/Staff are required to wear masks when riding in a school bus or district vehicle with more than one occupant, inside buildings, common areas, classrooms, during classroom monitoring and circulations. Masks or face shields are not required when developmentally inappropriate, when giving instruction to a class or when speaking to a large audience.
Face masks are required when social distancing cannot be practiced.
Staff and students will maintain six feet of social distancing in indoor and outdoor settings, to the greatest extent possible.
Students: Per TEA guidance, students will not be required to have their temperature checked or perform a screening each day. However, monitoring for symptoms should be done at home, any child having symptoms should not be sent to school There will be temperature check stations for students who wish to have their temperatures checked.
Teachers and Staff: Will be required to complete a self-screen assessment including taking their temperature for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the start of work each day. There will be temperature check stations for staff who wish to have their temperatures checked.
Personal Protective Equipment – Staff and students are expected to provide their own masks. If individuals need assistance with this matter, the district will have the equipment, e.g., masks, sanitizers, etc. available.
Students with Health Conditions – Parents and families know their child’s needs. While we are taking all measures to ensure each student’s safety, parents must place their child’s health needs first. Remote learning options are discussed later.
CAMPUSES AND CLASSROOMS
Campuses and Classrooms
To the greatest extent possible, elementary school students and staff will remain clustered together in their homerooms and/or grade level teams throughout each day. The use of common areas, such as cafeterias, gyms, playgrounds, etc. will occur as a group. This concept is intended to minimize interaction with other students and staff around campus.
Boerne ISD Custodial Staff is following the CDC recommended disinfectants which are proven to kill viruses like COVID-19, as well as others, and are using other products certified by the EPA safe for school
Custodial staff will also use a disinfectant electrostatic sprayer to complement the deep cleaning process at the end of each day
Custodial staff will frequently wipe high traffic surfaces, including handrails, door handles, countertops and other horizontal surfaces over the course of the day
Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed throughout campuses in easily accessible and high traffic areas and maintained throughout the day
Custodial staff will increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms and common areas throughout the day
Elementary classrooms will be deep cleaned and sanitized at the end of each school day
Secondary classrooms for the grade levels that transition from one classroom to another a disinfectant kit will be supplied to every classroom and will be used as required. Classrooms will also be deep cleaned at the end of each school day.
Recess / PE / Electives / Assemblies
We will continue important activities related to recess, PE, and other electives with some modifications.
Faculty and staff will make modifications to activities (when feasible) to increase social distancing; campuses will provide parents with more information on specific mitigation strategies for outclasses and electives
Staff on duty during recess will enhance monitoring of student distancing for student safety
Outdoor playscapes will be deep cleaned and sanitized at the end of each school day along with a disinfectant kit which will be used as required.
It may be impractical for students to wear masks while participating in some activities during PE or non-UIL athletic or other extracurricular activities; in these instances, staff will ensure safe distancing
Campuses will limit or eliminate school-wide /grade level assemblies and large gatherings of students
University Interscholastic League (UIL) / Extra-Curricular Activities
All students will be allowed to participate in any UIL or Extracurricular activities regardless of the instructional model in which they choose to participate.
In the near future, the UIL will provide guidelines on student and audience participation at UIL events for Fall 2020
Other Fine Arts and extra-curricular governing organizations will provide guidance on extra-curricular activities
Field trips and student travel to or from high-risk areas may be postponed or canceled
Visitors, Drop-off, and Pick-Up – All campus visits must be scheduled via an appointment. We will not allow volunteers until further notice. The number of visitors in the school will be limited to ensure students are safe; therefore, alternative meeting options may be scheduled, including virtual meetings. Each school will have procedures in place for daily drop-off and pick-up. This information will be communicated prior to the first day of school.
Restrooms and Water Fountains - Students’ physical needs are extremely important. Social distancing and hand washing will remain the priorities during restroom breaks. Because water dispensers have shared surfaces, these will be disabled/turned off. Students are highly recommended to bring full water bottles from home in order to stay hydrated.
Materials and Supplies – Students will be expected to use their own materials and supplies which will be kept in individually-assigned boxes. Sharing of materials will not be allowed. In instances where technology, books, calculators, etc., are used with multiple students, proper sanitation protocols will be enforced.
Backpacks and Other Personal Items – We strongly encourage the limiting of bringing personal items to the campus. Backpacks, water bottles or tumblers with a lid will be allowed. Please clean your child’s backpack and water bottle/tumbler on a daily basis.
Instructional ModelsIn-Person Instruction and Boerne E-Learning Option – Boerne ISD will continue a focus of high-quality rigorous instruction that supports the whole child while also taking multiple precautions to protect both students and staff in school operations. We will offer parents the option of either in-person instruction or the Boerne E-Learning Option. In both instances, students are expected to participate and remain engaged in instruction daily. Please note that paper instructional packets will not be available as they were during the Spring 2020 school closure. Each option is described below:
In-person Instruction – Students attend school daily and follow safety, sanitation, and social distancing expectations.
Boerne E-Learning Option – Students will receive instruction that is delivered in real-time and is expected to complete and submit assignments as communicated by the remote learning teacher(s). In this method, the instruction may include various forms of digital and online learning and could include pre-recorded video lessons or learning tasks for students to complete. Teachers may supply supplemental instructional resources to work along with the district’s Learning Management Systems (Google Classroom or Seesaw). Grading practices for the Boerne E-Learning Option will be consistent with those for in-person instruction.
For the Boerne E-Learning Option, each student will be required to work on and submit their assignments on a device (laptop, tablet, etc). Each student will also need a web camera and a microphone.
For both In-Person and the Boerne E-Learning Option, the campuses must provide instruction of the required curriculum for the grade level, subject or course, per TEC, §28.002. Ongoing progress monitoring is a critical component of both the in-person and remote instructional models. This will include monitoring of attendance, grades, formative/summative assessments, and other systems that help teachers know how students are making progress.
- Commitment – Each student’s family will make a commitment to one of these instructional models (in-person or the Boerne E-Learning Option) to start the year; however, students will have the opportunity to transition between these models at the end of each nine-week grading period. For example, if a student begins the school year with Boerne E-Learning but finds the model is not suitable, the student can request to transition to in-person campus instruction at the end of the first nine-weeks grading period. Likewise, a student who begins the year in-person on campus can choose to transition to Boerne E-Learning at the end of the first nine-weeks grading period. Changing instructional models at the end of grading periods requires campuses and the district to make staffing adjustments; therefore, please pay close attention to the change request deadlines. The deadline to request a change to your student’s instructional model will be two weeks prior to the end of each nine-week grading period.
- Attendance – Attendance will be taken each day for both In-Person learning and for E-Learning to ensure students are actively engaged. For the E-Learning model of instruction, students are expected to participate and fully engage, as communicated by the teacher, to receive attendance credit. Attendance and engagement activities will be tracked through the district’s Learning Management Systems (Google Classroom or Seesaw).
In addition, per Texas Education Code (TEC), §25.092, students must attend 90% of the days a course is offered in order to be awarded credit for the course and/or to be promoted to the next grade. This requirement remains in force during the 2020-21 school year. This requirement applies to both In-Person and E-Learning instruction.Grading – State law requires each district to adopt its own grading policies. This policy must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade which reflects the student’s relative mastery of an assignment. Boerne ISD grading policies are published annually in the Student Handbook. Progress reports and report cards, along with parent conferences, will be used to communicate each student’s progress and performance.
State and Local Testing – All students are expected to follow state and local testing requirements, whether participating in-person or in the Boerne E-Learning Option.
MEALS AND TRANSPORTATION
Meals and TransportationMeals – Boerne ISD must comply with child nutrition guidelines.
Breakfast and Lunch
Transportation - Seating arrangements will be established to comply with TEA’s social distancing requirements for school transportation.
Grab and Go meals will be provided as students enter the schools and students will eat in designated areas adhering to social distancing.
Purchasing meals will be required on-line or through an app. to limit the number of transactions using cash/checks.
Students would be required to wash hands with soap and water before meals. Additionally, hand sanitizer stations would be available in the cafeteria and classrooms.
In all areas where food is consumed, a three-step cleaning process will take place: soap, water, rinse and disinfect.
- Hand sanitizer pumps will be placed on all buses.
Drivers and assistants will wear face masks.
An area will be designated on all buses to accommodate any student who may need to be isolated.
Buses will be cleaned between campus drop-off points.
Buses will be disinfected daily utilizing the electrostatic cleaner at the end of the day.
BISD highly encourages all families to transport their children to their appropriate campus when possible.
Electives: Band, P.E., CTE Courses, Other Electives: Dance, Cheer, etc.Fine Arts Programs (Music, Theatre & Dance k-12) blueprint to return students to campuses for summer and fall of 2020:P.E. – Details are being developed for P.E. programs to align with the TEKS course expectations and U.I.L. COVID guidelines for athletics.CTE Courses- CTE courses require the practice and attainment of essential skills. BISD will implement student and teacher safety requirements and health recommendations. The most effective delivery of CTE instruction is a face-to-face instructional model. Some of the innovative forms of instruction for select courses will include staggered labs beyond the school day, take-home supply packages for skill practice, and technology for student certification opportunities.Other Electives: Cheer, etc. – Each course will be reviewed individually to ensure UIL guidelines are being followed.
SPECIAL PROGRAMSSpecial ProgramsProgram Participation and Services – Students currently participating in special program services, e.g., special education, 504, Bilingual/ESL, etc., will continue to receive services whether through face-to-face or remote/virtual learning. Student’s ARD, LPAC, or 504 meetings will be held using virtual meeting platforms.Evaluations and Testing - Sanitation, social distancing, and/or personal protective equipment (PPE) will be used, as appropriate.
COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS/EXPOSURE PROTOCOLS
COVID-19 Diagnosis/Exposure Response Protocols
Boerne ISD has implemented the following response protocols to address incidents of COVID-19 confirmed diagnosis or exposure of a student or employee.
Symptomatic: A student/employee exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be sent home immediately or denied entrance to the building. Symptomatic individuals will be placed on a 10-day quarantine or must meet one of the following options to return.Option 1: 10-day quarantine - may return if they meet the following criteria,
Option 3: Obtain a doctor's note with an alternative diagnosisConfirmed Diagnosis: A student/employee or a member of their household has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 from a certified testing location or by a treating physician. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis will be placed on a mandatory 10-day quarantine.Student/Employee Confirmed Diagnosis
- 24 hrs. without a fever and fever-reducing medicine
- Symptoms have improved or resolved
- 10 days since the symptoms started
Report of a student/employee having a confirmed diagnosis should be made to campus or department administrator
10-day isolation (at home)
Exposure notifications will be made to students/employees identified to have been exposed through contact tracing assessment
Closure of classroom, hallway, or building to allow for sanitization
Return to school or work will require the student or employee to not have had symptoms for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and symptom-free prior to their return with a release from their treating physician
Report of a student’s/employee’s member of a household having a confirmed diagnosis should be made to campus or department administrator
14-day at-home quarantine that begins at the end of the infected household member’s isolation period. (As of 10/1/2020)
The new Household Exposure Protocol is a required protocol from Region 8 Health Authority and approved by the CDC.
Closure of classroom, hallway, or building to allow for sanitization
Report of a student/employee having a primary exposure should be made to campus or department administrator
14-day quarantine(at home)
No alternate diagnosis of excuse will remove the 14-day quarantine when an individual has been exposed per CDC guidelines.
Secondary exposure: A secondary exposure would include a person in the employee’s household who was in proximity (within 6 ft) of a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 for a period of more than 15 min. without a face mask.
Student/Employee may come to school or work
Monitor for symptoms
Our Commitment to the Health and Wellbeing of our Students and Staff
We are committed to providing answers to your questions as they are submitted. Please understand we may not have all of the answers right away, but we will work on getting you the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
We appreciate your patience and support during this time. As you know, this is an unprecedented time and information sometimes changes rapidly. Our top priority is the safety of our students, families, and staff.
Resources Used for Decision Making