San Marcos CISD approves waiver allowing for extension of remote-only instruction

Due to a recommendation that COVID-19 test positivity rates districtwide should be at or below 5% for 14 consecutive days, San Marcos CISD has voted to approve a waiver that would allow for the extension of remote-only instruction throughout its district for an additional four weeks.

The vote came during the Aug. 17 board of trustees meeting and states that four-week extension should be added to the initial four-week period of remote-only instruction allowable by the Texas Education Agency.

The first day of school for SMCISD is Sept. 8, and district information states that it is in SMCISD’s best interest to approve the extension if conditions are not favorable to ensure a safe return to school.

Now that the board approved the waiver, it will be sent to the TEA for approval.

"Administration will continue to work closely with the City of San Marcos and Hays County Health Department to guide a safe transition to on-campus instruction,” a district document states. “As indicated in the waiver request, administration believes that COVID-19 test positivity rates should be maintained at a level of 5% or lower for at least 14 consecutive days before resuming any measures of on campus instruction."

In a related matter and following a lengthy executive session, board member Anne Halsey made a motion to allow all district employees whose jobs are not site-specific to work from home if they choose starting Aug. 18 from up until one week before the start of the school year Sept. 8.

Board Vice President John McGlothlin argued against the motion, stating that a rigorous screening process to determine who needs to work from home is already in place throughout the district.

"We have to let that process play out," he said. "I'm not comfortable jumping outside of it to craft something on the fly."

After some debate, Halsey withdrew her motion, and McGlothlin then made a motion to extend to Aug. 21 a window for workplace modification requests from district employees to be decided upon by Sept. 4.

The board passed McGlothlin's motion unanimously. The purpose of the motion, he said, was to accommodate those employees who felt they missed the previous workplace modification request deadline of July 31.

SMCISD will also hold a workshop to continue the discussion on workplace modification for its employees Aug. 24.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018. From there he became a dual-market editor for Community Impact's New Braunfels and San Marcos-Buda-Kyle editions. Brian is now a senior editor for the company's flagship papers, the Round Rock and Pflugerville-Hutto editions.