Dripping Springs ISD prepares to welcome students back to campus Sept. 14

A photo of Dripping Springs High School
Students will return to DSISD campuses Sept. 14. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Students will return to DSISD campuses Sept. 14. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Many Dripping Springs ISD students will return to campuses Sept. 14 following a month of virtual learning. A district representative said Sept. 11 around 4,500 students will be returning to campus out of 7,240—or roughly 62.2%.

Those who have opted to stay at home will have the option to learn asynchronously—at a pace convenient to them and their families—or to use Zoom for synchronous instruction to learn in real time with their peers.

Here is what else parents and students need to know ahead of Sept. 14.

Safety precautions

All DSISD students age 4 and older, instructors and staff will be required to wear masks on campus. Students must keep masks in place while covering the nose and the mouth unless a physical education instructor or coach directs them to remove masks while engaging in an athletic activity at a safe distance. This requirement aligns with the Texas Education Agency’s guidance for schools to protect against the transmission of the coronavirus.


DSISD does allow students who have certain medical conditions or disabilities to apply for an exemption from the masking requirement by submitting a request form, which will be reviewed by campus health representatives.

The district also instructs parents and guardians to screen students’ temperatures before sending them to school each day. Students whose temperature is over 100 degrees are instructed to stay home.

Other health precautions include the cleaning of common areas between classes, regular electrostatic disinfection and the installation of several isolation rooms for anyone who exhibits symptoms while on campus.

A public coronavirus tracking dashboard will be available on DSISD’s website beginning Sept. 14. If a student or staff member tests positive, quarantine protocols will be put in place, including the possible requirement for some of the positive individual's close contacts to quarantine, and all parents and staff will be notified.

Transportation

Some of DSISD’s transportation routes have been modified to implement increased health and safety measures. DSISD posted a new bus schedule with updated pickup and drop-off times Sept. 8. However, parents have been encouraged to drop students off at school themselves if possible to lower the number of student packed onto each bus.

Throughout the year, students will be required to wear masks while on the bus and will have assigned seating. Siblings will be assigned to sit together. Additionally, students will be given hand sanitizer when boarding and getting off the bus.

Buses will be sanitized twice as day “with a focus on high-touch surfaces,” according to the district. Some bus windows will also be kept open to help circulate air.

Athletics

Some of DSISD’s sports teams will participate in University Interscholastic League athletics this fall, including the football team. However, all the district’s sporting venues are limited to 50% capacity. Ticketing for those events will give priority to the families of participating athletes, including cheerleaders, band members, Hi-Steppers and football players. Because of the 50% capacity rule, no season passes or reserved seating will be issued this season.

Those who do not receive tickets to attend in person can still livestream games and events.

Dripping Springs High School schedules for both varsity and junior varsity football, cross country, tennis and volleyball have all been posted.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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