This announcement comes the same day the Texas Education Agency updated guidelines to allow school districts to limit access to on-campus instruction for the first four weeks of school by starting the year online only. Additional TEA guidelines allow districts in regions with high COVID-19 case counts to delay the start of the school year.
Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said if the curve of COVID-19 cases has not flattened in that time, school boards can approve an additional four-week transition time of online-only school before reopening campuses to all students.
“We will support flexibility at the local level to ensure that all of our schools remain safe and are available to our kids,” Morath said in a video.
The TEA guidelines provided exceptions for students without internet access or devices at home, but CFISD officials recently announced plans to purchase up to $44 million worth of Chromebooks and internet hot spots for students districtwide.
High schools can also be converted to a full-time hybrid model once in-person classes begin according to the guidelines, providing the opportunity to receive a portion of their instruction remotely and a portion on campus.
In addition to hearing a report regarding the reopening of CFISD in 2020-21, board members will consider two action items July 21.
The first is modifying the previously approved and re-approved instructional calendar “to help minimize instructional disruptions and adjust for learning loss in the event of future school closures(s) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The board initially approved the 2020-21 calendar in January, and then in June it approved extending instructional days by 10-15 minutes. At the time, the only other change were made to the instructional calendar was allocating the month of June 2021 for makeup instructional time. Otherwise, the first day of school was slated for Aug. 24, and the last day for May 27.
Secondly, the board will consider authorizing the purchase of desk and tabletop protective dividers for $3.75 million at the July 21 meeting.
Community members can attend the meeting in person at the Instructional Support Center, 10300 Jones Road, Houston, or watch online at www.cfisd.net.