According to KISD data, 51.94% of the student population, or 27,134 students, was enrolled in on-campus learning for the first quarter of the school year, while 48.06%, or 25,104 students, participated remotely. For the second quarter of the 2020-21 school year—which runs Nov. 2, 2020-Jan. 15, 2021—7,007 more students are learning on campus.
Similarly, in SISD, 34% of students opted for the district's on-campus learning option at the start of the 2020-21 school year, but 55.6% of students are learning on campus as of Nov. 23. Based on a total student enrollment of 33,715, this equates to 7,276 more students on campus now than were on campus at the start of the school year.
Additionally, as previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, 55% of CFISD's 115,923 students participated in remote learning at the start of the school year. At the start of the second grading period—Oct. 19 for secondary students and Nov. 9 for elementary students—more than 18,500 students switched to on-campus learning.
Since classes began Aug. 17, 216 SISD students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data as of Nov. 23.
In CFISD, 577 students and staff members have tested positive since Sept. 8.
KISD reported 86 active student and staff member cases of coronavirus as of Nov. 23. The district reports an overall COVID-19 positivity rate of 0.24% for KISD campus staff and 0.2% for on-campus students.
To keep up with these trends as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, each of the three districts has made changes throughout the 2020-21 school year.
KISD Chief Academic Officer Amy Miller said district officials are continuing to follow the guidelines the district's Roadmap to Reopening Design Team developed over the summer to assist schools in handling and mitigating possible COVID-19 scenarios.
"Included in those playbooks were plans for bringing back a majority of our students to on-campus learning," Miller said in an email Nov. 10. "As more families choose to return to on-campus learning, our campus administrators use our playbooks to maintain a focus on safe operations and adjust their campus procedures accordingly to accommodate safely the increase in students on campus."
Miller said the district is not currently seeing any statistically significant correlation between the number of positive cases of COVID-19 and campuses with high numbers of on-campus learners.
"Schools currently without a single active COVID-19 case range from 45%-84% on-campus student enrollment," Miller said.
During the Nov. 10 SISD board meeting, SISD Chief of Police Ken Culbreath presented an update on how the district is handling the ongoing pandemic. According to Culbreath, the district has implemented Stop the Spread Safety Walks, in which emergency management teams partner with campus leaders to ensure they have the resources and systems in place to keep students and staff members safe; partnered with a medical provider to assist the district with its check-in-to-work process for employees; and established isolation rooms on each campus where COVID-19-positive individuals are placed until they can be transitioned to a medical facility or go home.
"[Harris County Public Health] visited the district two weeks ago to see our processes and watch how we were doing our contact tracing and just kind of evaluate our processes," Culbreath said during the meeting. "The epidemiologist nurse that was here gave us a thumbs-up and said that we were on par with their standards, and in some areas, we even exceeded here in the district, so we were really proud of that."
Culbreath said SISD also has a 24-hour COVID-19 contact tracing team and has partnered with a second outside medical provider to provide free testing for employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
"We're not seeing spread across our campuses," SISD Superintendent Rodney Watson said during the meeting. "We're seeing individuals or singleton cases to where individuals, based upon what they did on the weekend or in their own private time, come to work or report to us that they've tested positive. So the team is doing a good job in terms of making sure that protocols are being followed."
SISD also updated its COVID-19 dashboard Nov. 20 to provide more detailed information for parents, students and staff.
In CFISD, officials announced Oct. 19 seven designated remote learning days for all students to provide teachers with additional planning time throughout the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
“We have determined that one area in need of immediate attention is additional planning and preparation time for our classroom teachers,” a statement posted on the district’s website read. “CFISD teachers are committed to providing quality instruction for their students and are working harder than ever to teach students both in-person and remotely.”
During these designated days, students who are otherwise attending face-to-face classes on their campuses will not need devices to complete and turn in assignments because they will receive paper packets ahead of time. Attendance will be recorded based on their completion of assignments, according to the district.
Those already participating in the district’s remote learning program, CFISD Connect, will watch prerecorded lessons and complete assignments virtually. Attendance will be recorded based on their completion of assignments and/or their login to Schoology.
There will be no live instruction on these days, and there will be no check-ins from teachers.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to make changes that we believe will have a positive impact on both our students and staff,” CFISD officials said in the statement. “Please contact your campus directly if there is a need to request on-campus learning at school for a student in pre-K through 8th grade on these designated remote learning days from home.”
Danica Lloyd contributed to this report.