9 things parents, teachers should know as New Braunfels ISD readies official plan for fall 2020

The NBISD Board of Trustees is expected to give more information about the beginning of the 2020-21 school year at a board meeting on July 27. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
The NBISD Board of Trustees is expected to give more information about the beginning of the 2020-21 school year at a board meeting on July 27. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)

The NBISD Board of Trustees is expected to give more information about the beginning of the 2020-21 school year at a board meeting on July 27. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)

As the start of the fall 2020 semester nears, questions loom about education amid the coronavirus pandemic. New Braunfels ISD staff are z preparing to release official plans later this month. In the meantime, here is an early look at the direction in which the district is headed for the fall.

1. The school year will begin Aug. 24.

Despite a host of changes and uncertainties due to the global pandemic, the district has no plans to alter its start date.

2. School days will be 15 minutes longer.

The New Braunfels ISD Board of Trustees added 15 minutes to each school day at a board meeting in June.

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

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. "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.”

3. The first three weeks of school may be virtual only.

During a parent Zoom conference on July 15, Moczygemba announced that rising case counts in New Braunfels and Comal County may lead the district to begin the school year with online-only instruction.

“I will recommend starting the school year with remote learning for all students,” Moczygemba said.

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.

The board of trustees will discuss the decision at a board meeting on July 27.

4. Parents will choose between 100% on-campus instruction or 100% virtual learning for their child during online registration.

NBISD registration will begin on Aug. 3. During the online registration process, parents will select in-person or remote learning.

A survey, which closed on July 19, was used by the district to gauge how many families want to return to in-person schooling versus how many prefer online options, though participants can change their preference through the registration period.

5. NBISD will continue to utilize “one-to-one” technology for remote learning.

In the spring, the district utilized online learning that allowed students to complete assignments on their own time in combination with live video calls and lessons with teachers.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the district implemented a one-to-one iPad program which provided personal learning devices to all students in the district.

The district will continue to utilize these devices during the 2020-2021 school year but has not released information about whether online instruction will be synchronous or asynchronous.

6. Class schedules for Middle and High School students will change.

During the July 15 parent Zoom conference, Moczygemba shared that district officials are working on a class schedule for secondary students that would limit the number of people students and teachers come into contact with each day.

Secondary students typically change classrooms during the day for each class, a schedule that Moczygemba said would make it difficult to enforce social distancing.

The board will continue to discuss changes to the class schedule in the coming weeks.

7. Students who ride buses will be required to wear masks.

Students who ride a NBISD bus to and from school or for extracurricular activities will be required to wear a mask while on the bus.

8. NBISD will host weekly virtual parent conferences to answer questions.

The town conferences will be hosted via Zoom, with all of them beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Recordings will also be available after the events on the district’s Facebook page and website.

9. All plans are subject to change.

As the start of the semester approaches, district officials have stated numerous times that plans may be adjusted depending on public health conditions and on directives from the Texas Education Agency and state and local officials.

Contact the district with any additional questions by emailing [email protected] or by filling out an online form.
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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