HAYS COUNTY, Texas – Hays County students, parents, and teachers are learning more about what the new school year will looking like after the district released a detailed 21-page plan.

What You Need To Know

  • School will start on September 8

  • First three weeks will be all virtual

  • After, parents can decide between virtual and in-person learning

The Hays CISD 2020-2021 COVID-19 Response Plan was published to the district’s Facebook account Thursday.

“Thank you for your patience as we have prepared this plan. It involved many people representing every campus and department. And, as it is with everything COVID-related, the plan is subject to change as we learn more information and as this pandemic unfolds. We will keep you informed,” read a portion of the Facebook post.

As part of the plan, students will not start classes until September 8, following the Labor Day holiday. And when they do, the first three weeks of coursework will be held online.

Following that initial three-week period, parents will have the option to decide if their children will return to on-campus instruction or will stay home to continue virtual learning.

The district says parents will soon be sent a link where they will be asked to choose whether they want their child at home or on campus. If a family needs to switch options once the school year has started, they will be given that option toward the end of each grading period.

For families who need help accessing computers or the internet, the plan states they will continue allowing families to check out computers and Wi-Fi hotspots.

What Will the School Day Be Like for Students?

Whether students are at home or are taking in-person instruction, all Hays CISD students will be using a new online coursework platform called Schoology.

There, students will be able to complete assignments, take tests and quizzes, view grades, and engage in forum style discussions with their peers.

Parents will also be provided accounts that will allow them to review what their students are doing on the new platform without being able to participate directly themselves.

For students who are learning from home, the district says course work won’t just involve kids watching teachers through video conferencing.

As part of the new plan, students will also access some course work that must be completed independently in their own time through Schoology.

Students who are on campus will be required to wear masks when six feet of social distancing isn’t possible.

Lunch and breakfast will be served at staggered schedules and students may not always eat in a cafeteria. Some will eat in classrooms or even outside depending on the circumstances. Students will also be required to wear face coverings unless they are actively eating their food.

Other changes students can expect to see at school include things like hand sanitizing stations in common areas and not being allowed to drink out of water fountains. Hand sanitizer and reusable water bottles will both make appearances on school supply lists.

Additionally, there will be no in-person school assemblies for the time being. Parents will meet with teachers online and visitors will not be allowed on campus.

What Happens If Someone Gets Sick?

If a school is closed again either because someone tests positive for the novel coronavirus or local regulations force it to close, it’s likely all students and faculty would return to a fully virtual school day.

According to the plan, teachers will be structuring their curriculum for the year in a way that would allow them to take all course work virtual if necessary.

Every day, teachers and faculty will be asked to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and to check their temperature before arriving at school. Parents are asked to do the same with their children every day.

If a teacher believes a student is present who may be sick, a school nurse will be contacted to evaluate the child and the student will be separated from his or her peers. In the event the nurse decides the child needs to be sent home, a parent or guardian must pick up the student within an hour of being contacted by the school.

Other students who may have been in the classroom with that child will be removed until it can be disinfected.

If a student ends up testing positive for the virus, parents of children they may have come into close contact with will be notified and those students will not be allowed back on campus for 14 days.