Comal and New Braunfels ISDs to lengthen school days for 2020-21 school year

Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD will continue to adjust back-to-school plans as more information is released from the Texas Education Agency. (Monica Romo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD will continue to adjust back-to-school plans as more information is released from the Texas Education Agency. (Monica Romo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD will continue to adjust back-to-school plans as more information is released from the Texas Education Agency. (Monica Romo/Community Impact Newspaper)

In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Comal and New Braunfels ISDs adjusted their school calendars for the 2020-21 school year to add extra minutes to each school day to account for potential missed days that would not have to be made up.

According to guidance from the Texas Education Agency and the District-wide Educational Improvement Council, school districts were encouraged to develop contingency calendar plans to accommodate any necessary makeup days needed to replace days missed due to coronavirus-related factors such as closures.

Students will be required to meet the standard 75,600 minutes of instruction during the 2020-21 school year, and no waivers will be granted for missed days due to COVID-19, according to the TEA and the Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

An additional 10 minutes CISD built into its school days added four surplus days to the calendar.

According to Superintendent Andrew Kim, the addition of the days will allow the district to adhere to the calendar determined at a previous board meeting while still being flexible with how missed days are made up.


"By adding 10 minutes to the school day, we gain four extra surplus days which may be used for unforeseen closures such as COVID-19," Kim said in a press release.

NBISD's 15 extra minutes will bring each day to 450 minutes and add 8.6 days to the school year.

If an additional two early dismissal days scheduled before Christmas break and the last day of school are used, a total of nine days could be used as makeup days, according to NBISD Superintendent Randy Moczygemba.

The NBISD board of trustees also elected to designate the month of June as a potential addendum to the calendar, which would add 21.5 instructional days if needed.

“At the end of the day, what we're trying to do is build multiple safety nets for us so that we don't have to go into June," Moczygemba said. "But at the end of the day if you can't get the days in, the state is either going to say you have to make them up in June or you will get no funding for those days you don't make up.”

According to both districts, administrators are still discussing how remote learning options will be utilized to continue education when students miss school, and the TEA is expected to release guidance on taking attendance during distance learning.

On July 15, the TEA confirmed school districts have permission to phase in a return to on-campus instruction during the fall semester without the risk of losing state funding.

School districts will primarily rely on local coronavirus data, including positivity rates, to determine how and when to return to in-person schooling, Moczygemba said in a parent Zoom conference July 15.
By Lauren Canterberry
Lauren began covering New Braunfels for Community Impact Newspaper in 2019. Her reporting focuses on education, development, breaking news and community interest stories. Lauren is originally from South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.


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