The district sent out a survey to parents in June about their preferences for the fall. Approximately 67% of families said they intend to send their students to school in-person, while 32% have chosen to remain online. The survey will remain open through July 10.
This means 26,000 students will return to campuses and more than 12,000 will remain at home during the upcoming school year, Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a July 7 video message.
Recently released guidelines from the Texas Education Agency align with RISD’s plans, Stone said.
“For us to have school in-person in Richardson ISD, we will have a relentless focus on safety,” she said.
The district had initially considered offering a hybrid mode that would have combined in-person and online learning, but decided against the option after analyzing state guidelines against necessary training and staffing, Executive Director of Communications Tim Clark said.
Masks and daily health screenings will be required for on-campus students. Staggered arrivals, lunch in classrooms and other precautions are still being considered.
Online learning will look completely different than it did in the spring, Stone said.
“The first thing you need to understand is that the virtual learning we will offer our students this fall 2020 in Richardson ISD will look nothing—I mean nothing—like the at-home learning from last spring,” Stone said.
The district will use both synchronous and asynchronous methods of educating students virtually, Stone said.
Synchronous instruction, which will be used for grades 3-12, requires teachers and students to participate in online classes and timed online assessments. Students will also have assigned times to conference with teachers via video.
Elementary students in grades 3-6 will have scheduled online classes with teachers every day as well as time for independent work, Stone said.
Students in grades 7-12 will have a full day of online classes, Stone said. Additionally, advanced placement and pre-AP courses will be available.
Students in pre-K through second grade will have asynchronous instruction, meaning students will not take scheduled online classes. A teacher will check in every day to provide instruction, take attendance and answer questions. Teachers will also be available throughout the day, Stone said.
Students will remain at their zoned campuses for both online and in-person instruction, Stone said.
RISD is expected to release its formal plans for the upcoming school year the week of July 20.