SAN ANTONIO – While many Texans are wondering what public schools will look like going into the 2020-2021 school year, it seems that a mid-to-late August start date is the tentative plan for most San Antonio-area school districts as of now.
Local districts have been trying to lock down and finalize calendars after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered Texas schools in March for the final two months of the 2019-2020 school year. Some of the calendars were approved before the pandemic, others have been approved this month — all subject to change as specifics are ironed out at the state and local level in the coming weeks.
Gov. Greg Abbott spoke with KPRC on Friday and said that “the Texas Education Agency has prepared for any contingency. There’s two key phases the education commissioner is focused on. First and foremost, it’s protecting the safety of all students, teachers, staff as well as parents. Second is maintaining a level of flexibility in order to achieve that level of safety.”
Abbott said the goal is for students and teachers to be in classrooms “because that is the best setting for them. If, however, there is an outbreak of COVID-19, whether it be community-wide or in a particular school, they do have the flexibility to provide enhanced online distanced learning for their students.”
The governor’s comments come a week after he told lawmakers that TEA Commissioner Mike Morath determined it will be safe for students to return to their campuses this fall, the Texas Tribune reported.
Then last week, the TEA released new guidelines on remote learning, funding and school attendance. The education agency said it will be providing masks, gloves, thermometers, hand sanitizers and face shields to teachers, however, districts won’t be required to mandate that students wear masks or require tests for COVID-19 symptoms.
But as coronavirus cases skyrocket in Texas, the TEA seems to be on a different page than the state’s largest teachers’ unions, who say “hell no” to reopening campuses in the fall without major changes and precautions in place.
KSAT reached out to a number of school districts regarding academic calendars for the upcoming year and heard back from Comal, East Central, Edgewood, Floresville, New Braunfels, North East, San Antonio, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City, Somerset and Southside Independent School Districts.
East Central ISD approved a calendar this month and said in a statement to KSAT that they have “tacked on more mandatory closure makeup days or ‘bad weather’ days into June just in case there is closure.” The district is in a similar situation as others in the state.
“At this time, we do not have information to release on what learning will look like (full return, full distance learning, hybrid, etc). We have received over 2,000 suggestions from our parents through our feedback forum and we will also use TEA guidance as well in implementing our plan,” said Brandon Oliver, a spokesperson with ECISD.
San Antonio Independent School District recently announced that it will implement an online-only model for the first three weeks of the new school year. Read more on that here.
Harlandale ISD superintendent Gerardo Soto said in a message on Tuesday that the district is “awaiting the approval of additional guidance from state and local authorities in order to proceed with what we deem necessary to decrease the spread of COVID-19 such as 100% virtual instruction from everyone in the district.”
The academic calendars for each area district are linked below and are the most up-to-date available on each district’s website (as of June 29):
- Alamo Heights ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 17
- Boerne ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 12
- Comal ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 25
- East Central ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 17
- Edgewood ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 10
- Floresville ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 17
- Harlandale ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 24 (pending approval)
- Judson ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 18
- Medina Valley ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 25
- New Braunfels ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 24
- North East ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 17
- Northside ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 24
- San Antonio ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 17 (pending board approval)
- Schertz-Cibolo-Universal-City ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 13
- Somerset ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 24
- South San Antonio ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 12
- Southside ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 17
- Southwest ISD - Tentative start date Aug. 24
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*Editor’s Note: South San Antonio ISD sent a revised calendar to KSAT after the article was published. The information has been updated to reflect the change.