Students should be receiving information about their assignments, either through Canvas, the district’s online learning platform, or directly from schools. The district is also providing resources for parents to support and guide their student’s education online, but Null said there are plenty of options for parents if they have multiple children, if they work or simply if they feel like they have to do it all.
“We’re going to provide you with more information than you could possibly ever use,” Null said, “both from your campus, as they are sharing information with you, and [from] the resources we are giving you as a district.”
The district’s website has every grade and subject listed, and as distance learning begins, the subjects will have objectives for the week and activities. However, Null said this information is only meant to supplement the materials provided by the campuses and teachers and is not required.
Null said high school students, specifically those enrolled in Advanced Placement or dual-credit classes and seniors, have to “engage” in their courses. While high school students will generally receive information directly through Canvas, most parents of younger students will receive their students' assignments.
“We understand that you may not be a teacher by trade, and you may have a full-time job,” Null said. “So do what you can, and that’s all that we’re asking. ... Do what’s best for your family and your child.”
There are also options for paper copies of work if families do not have access to reliable internet or devices. Null said the copies may be picked up at campuses. He said some campuses also have electronic devices to provide families, though supplies are limited.
Assignments for elementary-age students may not be graded, as the focus is mainly on continued instruction and not grades, according to Null. For older students, grades will play a larger role, particularly for those preparing for AP exams or earning dual credits.
Parents of special-education students will also receive materials for their instruction, and Null said questions or concerns should be directed toward teachers.
Although campuses will remain closed to the public, campus employees, teachers and counselors will be available between 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and parents may call schools for assistance.
Null said members of the CISD community should feel free to reach out for any needs during this time, whether for school supplies, meals or counseling. He also said all employees of the district will be paid their standard hours and should be working from home with online training opportunities.
CISD distributed almost 60,000 meals the week of March 16 and plans on continuing distributing meals throughout the closure. Meals are distributed from 10 sites in the district.
Denise Cipolla, the administrative coordinator of guidance and counseling, was also featured in the livestream and said links to online counseling and appointments should be available to families soon. She suggested CISD families create regular schedules during the closure to combat the stress of working from home and to help their children.
“Find time as a family to talk about your fears and your concerns and even the future,” Cipolla said. “Connect with each other, and begin to appreciate one another again.”