San Antonio superintendents prepare for return of in-person classes this fall

Officials say precautions, concerns come with face-to-face learning

Empty classroom (Pixlr)

SAN ANTONIO – Now that Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that public school students in Texas will return to the classroom in the fall, San Antonio superintendents are making preliminary plans for the new school year.

San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said that he has looked at input from staff member and parents and developed instructional models that accommodate health concerns.

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“We have developed instructional models that include face-to-face, hybrid (a combination of face-to-face and online instruction) and fully online instruction to accommodate various stages of school closure,” Martinez said in an email. “Safety is a critical component of each plan, with protocols being developed within a framework of hygiene, physical distancing and other public health considerations. We will follow the guidance of the METRO Health department and will work to accommodate student health concerns.”

Martinez said that details will be available later next month.

Northside Independent School District Superintendent Brian Woods said that school in the fall does not come without proper health and safety precautions.

“The Governor’s comments indicating that Texas students will be returning to public schools in person in the fall without the need for state-mandated health screenings and face masks, certainly puts us one step closer in our planning process for reopening,” Wood said in an email. “However, just because those precautions are not going to be mandatory does not mean that our plans will not include precautions like these.”

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Woods stated that many questions remain, “including specifics around funding for students who choose to or must remain in distance learning.” He stated that NISD has not yet finalized district reopening plans.

North East Independent School District Superintendent Sean Maika said that a return to in-person classes was anticipated by district leaders and said he awaits additional instruction from the Texas Education Agency.

“We also anticipate there will be other options, like online learning, available,” Maika said. “We are awaiting further information from the TEA next week and will then determine specific options, as well as safety protocols that will be put into place.”

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TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said, in an email statement, that guidance will be provided to educators and administrators early next week.

“It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall,” Morath’s email stated. “But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses. Detailed guidance on what this will look like will be issued by TEA early next week.”

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