Cy-Fair ISD officials anticipate COVID-19’s effects on summer, 2020-21 plans

Brautigam Center staff members welcome students on the first day of school in August 2019. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
Brautigam Center staff members welcome students on the first day of school in August 2019. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)

Brautigam Center staff members welcome students on the first day of school in August 2019. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)

Just two weeks before the end of the school year, Cy-Fair ISD officials are preparing to submit final grades and kick off summer school programs.

CFISD’s Learning at Home program will continue through the last day of school May 28.

After the remote learning program launched March 23, teachers began recording grades April 13, according to the district.

Chief Academic Officer Linda Macias said the modified grading plan supports students who are facing difficult situations related to the coronavirus pandemic and those who were depending on the fourth grading period to improve their overall grade-point average or earn credit for a course.

“We spent a lot of time talking to our principals ... about having grace here,” Macias said during the May 11 board meeting. “We want to make sure that we are assigning grades, but that we’re also being sensitive to the situation.”

The 644 students who have yet to be reached during the pandemic will be given the opportunity to earn a passing grade for the fourth grade period. For instance, no student at any grade level will receive a grade lower than 69 for the fourth marking period, Macias said.

Elementary school students will earn one grade per week in each content area—reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The final grade for the fourth marking period will be determined by averaging six equally weighted grades. Depending on their average, students will earn a 69, 89 or 100 as the final grade.

Secondary students will receive a weekly grade for each course taken for the fourth grading period, and no final exams will be given. Depending on the average of these weekly grades, students will earn a 69, 79, 89 or 100 as their final grade.

June and beyond

CFISD announced May 6 outdoor graduation ceremonies were rescheduled and relocated to the Cy-Fair FCU Stadium from June 1-6. Officials previously planned to hold ceremonies indoors at the Berry Center in July until Abbott authorized districts to hold outdoor ceremonies as early as June 1.

Once the school year ends, district students can continue to take advantage of the curbside meal program through June and July. Officials said 670,000 meals were served from March 16-May 8.

Thousands of students will be able to participate in free, virtual summer school opportunities throughout June and July, including traditional programs and new enrichment programs offered for pre-K through high school. Macias said some programs involved live instruction with teachers, and others are self-guided with hotline support available.

District officials are also in the process of determining what the 2020-21 school year might look like between continuing remote learning, returning to in-class learning or some combination of the two, Superintendent Mark Henry said.

Considerations include health screenings, instructional calendar modifications, access to meals and resources, avoidance of large gatherings, grading guideline changes and anticipated issues in each plan. A preliminary budget plan for 2020-21 included $10 million set aside for COVID-19 response efforts.

Henry said although administrators are exploring traditional, virtual and blended instruction scenarios for 2020-21, he is optimistic about students and staff returning in August.

“We are gearing up to have business as close to usual as possible in August,” Henry said. “Kids are going to be back on campuses; teachers are going to be back on campus, and we’re going to start the 2020-21 school year off on a great foot. But ... [even] though we’re expecting the best, we have to plan for the worst.”
By Danica Lloyd

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.