Barring any changes, the district’s model is the most probable scenario for the 2020-21 school year, outgoing Superintendent Brad Lancaster said during a special called board meeting July 1.
Parents and staff will likely have a choice of whether they will send their children to school Aug. 19, which was an option supported by a majority of trustees. There have also been no capacity restrictions put in place by The Texas Education Agency at this time, Lancaster said.
TEA rules stipulate parents cannot be confined to their decision until two weeks before the first day of school. Lancaster said that caveat could create planning challenges for the district.
A survey distributed by LTISD in June showed 69.2% of parents said they planned on sending their children to school. However, as the Greater Austin area experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases, Lancaster noted community attitudes may have shifted, and a supplemental survey is needed.
Details on daily temperature checks, social distancing guidelines or the use of face masks have not been announced and could change throughout the year.
LTISD has placed orders for about $600,000 of personal protective equipment, including face shields, face masks, hand sanitizer stations and sanitary wipes, according to Johnny Hill, assistant superintendent for business, financial and auxiliary services.
Remote students will likely engage in asynchronous learning, meaning teachers will record lessons to be distributed to students, said Elizabeth Deterra, assistant superintendent of learning and teaching services, who added the district is not equipped for live streamed classes.
The district anticipates some fluidity in this learning model; parents and staff may have the opportunity to shift from in-person to remote learning, especially if an individual receives a positive COVID-19 test.
As an added resource to the community, LTISD will also release a website by early July that will be updated regularly and will include a question and answer section.
As Lancaster prepares to leave the district, he ensured a smooth transition for incoming Superintendent Paul Norton, who is set to begin Aug. 3.
“I hope our community will embrace Mr. Norton and allow him the chance to acclimate to this community under a very difficult set of circumstances,” Lancaster said.