Per a resolution passed during the Aug. 11 board meeting, students will return to campus following a multiweek transition period in an effort to facilitate both a sustainable and safe learning environment.
The model outlined by the Texas Education Agency allows both students and staff to resume in-person learning in stages, which would span a nine-week period.
In-person curriculum and school activities remain on hold until Sept. 8 in accordance with orders issued by the city of Austin and Travis County. Following that suspension, the district will phase in up to 25% of a campus’ population that will reflect EISD’s most at-risk students.
That percentage will include those who experienced the greatest challenges utilizing remote learning—students with significant academic gaps, English language learners and those receiving special services could fall under this category.
A majority of teachers would be asked to return to campus as early as Aug. 31 unless they present documented health risks associated with the coronavirus.
The current model would offer only remote learning for the remaining 75% of students until the week of Oct. 13. After that week, up to 100% of students could resume on-campus instruction if desired, per TEA’s funding requirements.
However, EISD could phase in a larger percentage of students at an earlier date if the district desired and was legally able to do so.
The approval of the resolution did not legally bind the district to any plan, according to Alyson Collins, EISD general counsel, who added the approval of the nine-week transition period solely informs TEA and the community of the district’s intentions.
“That document doesn’t stop us from having 60% of the kids in [the building] at week five,” Superintendent Tom Leonard said.
Trustee John Havenstrite argued the initial resolution did not provide a clear statement to the community that EISD intends to reintroduce students as soon as it is safe to do so.
Following an agreement from a majority of trustees, the resolution was amended to include additional language to illustrate EISD’s intention and desire to welcome students back to the classroom when feasible.
That language reads: “Eanes ISD will utilize the transition period to safely and feasibility return students to on-campus instruction in a sustainable manner and timeline.”