In addition to approving the 2021-22 tax rate, Clear Creek ISD leaders discussed coronavirus trends, Hurricane Nicholas damage and the start of new remote learning options during the Sept. 27 board of trustees meeting. Here is what parents and community members need to know.
Remote, virtual learning kick off
The CCISD board of trustees on Aug. 23 approved a virtual learning program for 2021-22 that would be available to kindergarten through sixth grade students as well as remote conferencing. Both schooling options began post-Labor Day weekend and are now being offered across the district.
Remote learners at all grade levels have access to a teleconferencing option meant for those who may need to receive instruction from home for durations of up to 20 days. The option is offered via the Texas Education Agency, district leaders said; it was previously available only with issuance of a waiver that had to be requested for each individual student, per the TEA.
The instruction, which Superintendent Eric Williams said Sept. 27 is offered synchronously, is not given by the student’s classroom teacher, but lessons will align to district scope and sequence. While attendance fluctuates, as many as 700 students have used the remote conferencing option in one day so far, Williams said Sept. 27.
“I want to give a shout out to the curriculum and instruction team, teachers, librarians and substitutes for helping us bring learning into the living rooms of our students,” he said during the meeting.
Clear Connections was eliminated as a virtual learning option for 2021-22 over the summer, due to both funding-related questions and low interest. Once Senate Bill 15 was signed into law, allowing Texas school districts to implement virtual learning without risking the loss of state funding, leaders put together a virtual option in late August.
There are 525 students using the virtual learning program, officials said Sept. 27.
“Thank you for the heavy lifting that you guys did over the [holiday weekend] to implement that and get that done,” board President Jay Cunningham said Sept. 27 to the district teams involved in getting virtual learning off the ground.
Active coronavirus cases are trending down, but counts are still relatively high compared to most of last year, Williams said Sept. 27. There are 114 active cases across the district as of Sept. 30.
Data compiled by Community Impact Newspaper shows the district had between 10 and 20 active COVID-19 cases for late September 2020. Case counts were not consistently over 100 until December 2020.
With this in mind, CCISD is taking steps to offer more experiences for students and parents while maintaining health protocols and certain limitations. While visitors are still not permitted during breakfast and lunch due to space limitations, parents can visit schools for parent-teacher conferences, school assemblies, book fairs and other award ceremony events.
Parent-teacher associations and booster clubs can meet in person, and parent nights, open houses, concerts and other after-school activities and events will occur “with full parent participation,” according to communication sent to CCISD parents in late September. There are no capacity restrictions for indoor or outdoor events.
Williams said Sept. 27 the district will “continue to monitor the case trends within CCISD and the broader community and make adjustments as appropriate.” Face coverings are still strongly encouraged for students, staff and visitors, and enhanced cleaning practices remain in place.
The district hosted a COVID-19 information session via livestream Sept. 30, which is available for playback on the CCISD website and Facebook page.
- District enrollment is up from last year, Williams said: There are 40,897 students enrolled this year, up from 40,737 during the 2020-21 school year.
- Damage from Hurricane Nicholas was minimal, and all but two schools were able to resume classes Sept. 15, Williams said during the meeting. Two campuses were delayed due to power outages. Crews responded to roof leaks; wet ceiling tiles; water in some hallways, offices, classrooms and common areas; downed trees; and a broken goalpost.