LCA plans to open its campus to in-person instruction beginning Aug. 13, while classes at LPS will begin Aug. 19.
LPS elementary campus Principal Michelle Creamer said parents have thanked the school's staff for allowing them to choose the education option they believe is best for their families.
“That's what a charter school is—it's a school of choice,” Creamer said. “Parents chose for their child to attend [here] rather than the [public] school they would be zoned for.”
LCA Head of School Bill McGee estimated the school will spend between $600,000 and $1 million to prepare for reopening for on-campus instruction. The private school will have an expected enrollment of close to 1,000 students.
“The vast majority of our families support us opening the school because of the measures we've taken,” McGee said. “I don't think that would be the case if we had not invested all that we needed to invest to ensure as safe an environment as possible.”
McGee said last week that only a small percentage of parents had chosen to enroll their children in the school’s 100%-virtual, semester-long LCA Online academy. Parents choosing on-campus learning still have the flexibility to keep their children home when needed and the students can learn from home, McGee said.
“Right now, there's just a few families who have communicated to us that they're going to exercise the flex option,” he said. “I would say right now, well over 90% of our students, if not 95%, will be on campus beginning Aug. 13.”
At LPS, parents also have the opportunity to choose 100% online or on-campus instruction. Secondary campus Principal Audra Floyd said the majority of students will be attending virtually.
“About 40% want to come to school and feel like the benefits outweigh the risks,” Floyd said. “And we want to honor the community and do what they’re asking for.”
While LPS will offer flexibility for students to go from on-campus to online instruction, parents choosing 100% online will not be able to move their children to in-person instruction until the end of the first nine weeks.
“With the guidelines of all the cleaning protocols and just trying to keep social distancing, it's harder to have someone choose to go from online back to in-person because we need to make sure that we can have all of those things in place,” Creamer said. “We want for parents to have an ability to change their mind, but we also need to be able to have some time to adjust for that change.”
Face coverings will be a common site at both schools, officials said.
Floyd said LPS is following Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order about face coverings, which states children under 10 are not required to wear them in public. However, Creamer said she is encouraging parents to have children wear face coverings during arrival and dismissal each day, when they are likely to be around students not in their regular class.
“So much of early education is watching them, say their letters correctly and so forth,” Creamer said, noting elementary students will mostly stay with their class and teachers will wear masks.
Everyone on the secondary campus will be required to wear face coverings, Floyd said.
As an added precaution to help stem the spread of coronavirus, Creamer said LPS will be asking parents to do temperature screenings on students before they arrive on campus.
At LCA, McGee said staff members will be checking temperatures before younger students even get out of their vehicles in the morning.
“If their temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees, they will not even come into the building at that point,” he said. “For those who are driving themselves to school, we have touchless thermometers at every entrance.”
McGee said face coverings will be required if a student or staff member cannot maintain a six-foot social distance at any time, both inside and outdoors.
“As long as we can maintain that physical distancing—let's say for example, a class is walking down a hallway, where they may pass other students, then a mask will be required,” McGee said.
He explained the school has limited the size of classes to set up desks that are at least six feet apart, so students will not have to wear face coverings. However, all students and teachers will have the option to wear a face covering whenever they would like, McGee said.