Louise school principals released the district’s COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year this week. Temperature checks, a mask requirement for students over age 10 and social distancing are among the district’s tactics for preventing coronavirus outbreaks in the fall.
“They’ll obviously be following the district vision and the governor’s orders,” LISD Superintendent Garth Oliver said. “(Principals) have specific ways they’re handling everything based on the age of the kids and the different activities.”
District employees plan to screen students every morning before they get on the bus or after they arrive at school. If a student displays COVID-19 symptoms or has a fever of 100 degrees or more, they will be sent home.
“If students want to come to school, absolutely we want you to be there,” Oliver said. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep your kids protected and safe, but we cannot guarantee or ensure that. I can never guarantee or ensure that, regardless of COVID-19.”
LISD campus principals met with the school board Monday to discuss their plans for the fall. These discussions, along with guidance from the Texas Education Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Governor Greg Abbott were used to formulate the current plans. Due to the unpredictability of the ongoing pandemic, however, the plans may be modified later on.
Students will be required to wear masks, face shields or face coverings when attending school. As long as face coverings do not have offensive messages on them, and seem sufficient to prevent potential COVID-19 spread, campus principals will allow students several options for masks.
“It’s got to be something that is sustainable and would meet the guidelines and criteria,” Oliver said. “If you pull your shirt up over your face, that’s not something you can do all day.”
Students will practice social distancing in the classroom and be asked to clean their own desks before and after use, but disciplinary action will not be taken regarding social distancing, according to the campus plans.
High School, junior high and elementary students will have separate lunch periods, and the number of students eating at one table will be limited.
District leaders plan to have sports and other extracurricular activities, but will ask students to social distance during school gatherings and will keep the three campuses separated, Oliver said.
“We’re going to try to minimize pep rallies, but if (students) are already mixing in class every single day, why can’t we have a pep rally?” Oliver added.
Superintendent Garth Oliver released a letter to the community addressing basic certainties for the upcoming 2020-2021 semester on July 16. The district plans to offer in-person and remote education to students and implement new safety precautions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Whether parents decide to send their students to school remotely or in-person, they will be asked to stay with that option for at least six weeks. LISD schools will offer a blend of synchronous instruction – involving live communication between the teacher and students – and asynchronous instruction, which does not require the teacher and students to be engaged at the same time.
Oliver urged parents and students to choose in-person or remote education based on what is best for their family.
“If you’re not as socially distanced as you feel you should be, then you maybe need to step back a little,” Oliver said. “If you have no room to step back, at some point you need to decide if (in-person) school is for you.”
ECISD and LISD used a combination of asynchronous and synchronous remote education models during the 2020 spring semester after COVID-19 closed schools in March.
At Monday’s meeting, LISD trustees voted unanimously to pay employee insurance premiums at a district-wide increase of $18,000. They also unanimously approved payment of workman’s comp insurance and a project for resurfacing the district’s tennis courts for a maximum of $14,000.