Many details of Dripping Springs ISD’s instruction plan for the fall remain uncertain, but the district’s board of trustees confirmed at a July 20 meeting their intention to maintain an Aug. 18 start date for classes, along with four weeks of virtual learning for all students to kick off the school year.

Superintendent Todd Washburn also outlined a work-in-progress plan for instruction and school operations for both virtual and in-person learning once that option begins Sept. 8.

The board did not take any official votes at their July 20 meeting, but are scheduled to officially approve a resolution for the district’s back-to-school plan July 27. According to board President Carrie Kroll, until that time, and even after that time, plans are subject to change.

“There will be a lot of fluidity going into the school year,” Kroll said.

Here are key takeaways from Washburn’s presentation on DSISD’s back-to-school plan draft:

General instruction: DSISD is planning for a 5-day-a-week, in-person instruction option to be offered in addition to a virtual learning option. Both methods will use the Canvas virtual learning platform to support instruction, and teachers will create curricula that can pivot from in-person to virtual class settings in case schools need to shut down at any point due to positive COVID-19 cases.

Virtual learning: Virtual instruction will have both synchronous and asynchronous elements, meaning some class activities will take place at fixed times, and others will be self-paced. Virtual learning students will follow the same instruction as in-person students, and will be subject to the same grading criteria.

Extracurricular activities: Both virtual learning and in-person students will be allowed to participate in University Interscholastic League athletics, fine arts and activities, once those activities are given the green light by the district and overseeing local and state agencies.

Masks: Students, teachers and staff will be required to wear masks on campus in accordance with state mandates.

Health screening and management: Teachers and staff will go through daily mandatory coronavirus screenings, including temperature checks. Parents will be responsible for screening students each morning. If a staff member or student presents symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, they will not be allowed to enter campus until they meet certain re-entry criteria.

School buses: Student bus riders will be assigned seats according to bus route, and siblings will sit together. Distancing will be implemented as much as possible, and students will be required to use hand sanitizer upon entry and exit. Masks will also be required.

Events: No school assemblies will be held, and all field trips are canceled. Parent conferences and other necessary gatherings will be held virtually.