Clear Creek ISD administrators, community members refine reopening plans for 2020-21 school year

Clear Creek ISD's Board of Trustees is working with a committee to figure out plans for next school year. (Community Impact staff)
Clear Creek ISD's Board of Trustees is working with a committee to figure out plans for next school year. (Community Impact staff)

Clear Creek ISD's Board of Trustees is working with a committee to figure out plans for next school year. (Community Impact staff)

Clear Creek ISD is preparing to open its schools in the fall with coronavirus-related restrictions, the details of which are being worked out by the board of trustees and the Safely Reopen CCISD Committee.

After incorporating feedback from a public input meeting June 16, the committee presented final recommendations to the board during its June 22 regular meeting. Medical professionals, county and local authorities, faith leaders, parents, district staff and CCISD students comprise the committee. Recommendations were first presented at a June 8 workshop.

Overall, the recommendations include refining the school calendar to account for a potential COVID-19 resurgence; developing academic, social and emotional learning expectations; and mitigating the digital divide across CCISD.

“We all need to be responsible citizens and teach our children how to be responsible as well,” Superintendent Greg Smith said June 22.

Draft guidelines released by the Texas Education Agency on June 23 fell in line with Gov. Greg Abbott’s previous comments, mandating school districts offer some form of on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year. A majority of the CCISD parents that spoke at the June 16 meeting said returning to fully in-person instruction was the best course of action.



Remote learning can still be an option for school districts, parents and teachers, it just cannot be the only option, per the TEA. Students will be able to record their attendance through either on-campus or virtual instruction, and parents will be allowed to request that their child be offered virtual instruction.

Parents push for in-person instruction

Two of the final charges presented to the board detailed the various procedures that would be necessary for a safe reopening in August. These include conducting basic health screenings for students and staff; enforcing hand-washing protocols; providing mental health supports for students and staff as well as trauma-sensitive professional learning for staff; developing protocols for high-risk employees and students; and creating guidelines for the safe operation of athletics programs, student organizations and other extracurricular activities.

Several parents with students who have disabilities spoke June 16 about how important in-person instruction is for their children, but they also said enforcing the use of personal protective equipment such as masks in special education classrooms will be virtually impossible.

Student committee members emphasized how important the connections and relationships are that they form with teachers over the course of their education; many parents who participated in the public input meeting said their children felt they had lost the ability to make those connections amid the pandemic-enforced distance learning.

“We heard that reverberated over and over ... [that children] lost interest in school because they lost that connection with the teacher,” committee co-Chair Catharine Pierce said June 22.

Smith said the district would revise its distance learning experience based on feedback from the end of the 2019-20 school year. Offerings for distance learning will be available to any school-age student living within the district, including students who previously were attending private or parochial schools, he said.

Public input spurs revised recommendation

After listening to parent input, the committee also added a recommendation that the district extend the school day by approximately 10 minutes. The extra time would be used to implement safety protocols and allow teachers to maximize time for instruction. Smith said June 22 that adding the 10 extra minutes would give the district necessary flexibility without affecting transportation schedules, but no formal action was taken to do so.

The board approved an additional 9.5 full-time employees, which will cost the district about $560,000, at the June 22 meeting. The district may need additional staff to ensure a robust distance learning experience, Smith said.

No official changes have been announced for the upcoming school year as of June 24. The full text of the final recommendations is available online. The board and CCISD community will receive weekly updates on the progress made toward planning the 2020-21 school year, officials said at the meeting.

“We certainly learned lessons from the last couple of months ... and now it’s acting on those lessons,” board President Laura DuPont said June 22. “The district is doing its best and wants to be as responsive as it can. ... Our hope is that we can move forward with a flexible middle ground.”

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

(Courtesy city of Houston)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Spaceplane developer coming to Clear Lake and more aerospace news

Here is a roundup of space-related news in the Clear Lake area.

houston firefighters rally
Appeals court rules in favor Houston firefighters in collective bargaining case

The 14th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the fire union in a case that originated when the city and the union failed to reach an agreement on a labor contract in 2017.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

Legacy Community Health is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to historically underserved communities across Beaumont and Houston. (Courtesy Pexels)
Legacy Community Health vaccine rollout targets underserved communities in Houston, Beaumont

The health network is partnering with other entities, including Beaumont Independent School District.

Here is an overview of current coronavirus spread and vaccination trends in Galveston County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
DATA: 4 in every 10 Galveston County adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Here is an overview of current coronavirus spread and vaccination trends in Galveston County.

HTV
Houston, Harris County annual addresses no longer hosted by Greater Houston Partnership over Texas voter bill dispute

Local leaders criticized the area chamber of commerce for not taking a definitive stance on two voting access bills currently being deliberated in the Texas Legislature.

The new location is Chipotle's first in Magnolia. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle opens in Magnolia; get a sneak peek of new Houston aquarium and more metro news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member. (Courtesy Fire Smart, LLC)
Fire Smart, LLC celebrates one year of providing fire safety education across Greater Houston area

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member.

(Courtesy Lone Star Flight Museum)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: B-29 Superfortress on display at Lone Star Flight Museum and more

Here is a round up of business and related news around Clear Lake and League City.

USA Ninja Challenge opened May 1 in Webster. (Courtesy USA Ninja Challenge)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: USA Ninja Challenge now open and more

Here is a roundup of business news from Clear Lake and League City.