During an Aug. 27 presentation to the board of trustees, staff outlined a four-phased approach to reopening school campuses in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
“All summer, we’ve been working on a thorough, multi-faceted safety plan in alignment with CDC recommendations to keep our students and staff as safe as possible when they return,” Superintendent Steve Flores said. “In all of this we know we must remain flexible, recognizing the potential of needing to return to an all-virtual environment if transmission rates spike once again.”
The reopening plan as presented Aug. 27 is as follows:
Phase 1 (underway)
• Began Aug. 20
• All students enrolled in virtual learning
• All teachers teach virtually
• Anticipated to begin Sept. 10
• Students in self-contained special education settings return to campus
• All other students remain in virtual learning
• Anticipated to begin Sept. 15
• Students who opt for on-campus learning return (approximately 30%, according to the district’s Parent Choice Survey)
• All other students remain in virtual learning (approximately 70%, according to the district’s Parent Choice Survey)
• Date is TBD
• Student mobility throughout campuses increases
• All students who opt for virtual learning may remain remote
Moving from phase to phase is contingent on current health conditions, Flores said. If coronavirus cases spike, the district may return to an all-virtual environment.
RRISD straddles Williamson and Travis counties. Currently, health guidance varies between the two jurisdictions. In Williamson County, the recommendation as of Aug. 27 is for districts to remain in all-virtual learning. However, Travis County health officials on Aug. 25 moved from Stage 4 restrictions, which recommend a 25% capacity cap to Stage 3, which suggest a 50% limit.
Moving forward, staff said testing positivity rate, incidence rate and a two-week trend in new infections will drive decisions about in-person learning options.
“At this point though, we are cautiously optimistic and excited to move forward on a path that leads us back to campus,” Flores said. “We are together in spirit if not in person yet.”