Coronavirus update San Antonio, May 15: Superintendents discuss what the fall semester could look like for students, teachers

Districts working to reopen in the fall

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above. Newsletter recipients can click here to access the video.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in their daily briefing Friday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 2,120 COVID-19 cases and 62 deaths in Bexar County, as of Friday. Twenty-two cases are from the community, 42 are from the Bexar County Jail and two are from congregate settings. He said 1,071 patients have recovered.
  • City officials also reported that 70 patients are hospitalized, 34 are in the intensive care unit and 25 are on ventilators.
  • Nirenberg discussed the resignation announcement of San Antonio Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger, who used to be in charge of the Metropolitan Health District. He said she is resigning to go onto her next journey professionally to work in consulting. He said he was thankful for the work she has done as city manager and for Metro Health. Click here to read more about this announcement.
  • Sean Maika, North East ISD superintendent, and Pedro Martinez, San Antonio ISD superintendent, joined the local leaders today to discuss what their districts are doing to work through the pandemic.
  • Maika said more than 1.5 million meals have been given to students since the closures began in March. The district has also installed WiFi in the schools’ parking lots for students to be able to access the internet safely.
  • Maika said NEISD is on schedule to reopen in August, and the district is committed to safety of students and employees. He said plans are in the works for the students coming back to campus and for those whose parents who don’t want to send their children back.
  • Maika said teachers and staff members who are currently working on campuses are required to wear masks. He said masks may be required by students depending on the pandemic situation when the school year begins.
  • Maika said the pandemic has not impacted NEISD’s staffing model, but he’s unclear how Texas’ economy will affect funding for the next school year. He said leaders are revisiting the model as things develop.
  • Martinez said SAISD has served 1 million meals since spring break and is helping families with food distribution at 29 different sites.
  • Martinez said SAISD’s school year is scheduled to begin August 10. He said they are looking at ways to implement social distancing in classrooms and prepare to reopen safely. Summer programming starts in July, he said.
  • Martinez said he wants to make sure the community feels confident sending children back to school. But parents also need to register their students so the district can account for the devices it has loaned out for distancing learning.
  • Martinez said there could be changes to the school calendar if an outbreak were to occur on a campus. He said the district will survey parents to see what their thoughts are on the matter.
  • Martinez said SAISD wants to work with parents who may be afraid to send their children back to school. He said teachers are being trained to work better with online tools. A hybrid learning model for students could be possible in the fall, he said.
  • Martinez, like Maika, said he’s also concerned about funding cuts from the state for SAISD. He said he has no plans to cut staff members and may need more employees in the fall.
  • Martinez said SAISD has about 1,900 students it has not been able to contact. Workers for the district will be performing home visits, he said.

Read Bexar County’s updated executive order below. Newsletter recipients: Click here to read the order.

Read San Antonio’s updated executive order below. Newsletter recipients: Click here to read the order.

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About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes breaking news, COVID-19 coverage, personal finance stories on the "Money: It's Personal" series, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" series.