SAN ANTONIO – With North East Independent School District teachers returning to the classrooms for virtual teaching, the school district is making sure its staff is covered not only from a health standpoint but also from a child care standpoint.
“Our obligation and focus is to make sure the 64,000 students we have have the best education possible,” said Aubrey Chancellor, an NEISD spokesperson. “We feel it is imperative for teachers to return to the classrooms. They are there. They have all the materials they need. There are no distractions, and they are able to fully give 100% to the lessons at hand.”
Chancellor said with teachers coming back to campuses, the district is making sure they are staying healthy.
“We have multiple entrances, so the teachers may have little to no interactions with others,” Chancellor said. “They can go in and go directly to their classrooms where they will be alone.”
Chancellor said staff members are required to wear masks while walking through the hallways, and hand sanitizing stations are installed throughout the buildings.
“In addition to that, the custodial staff have been doing a great job making sure things are sanitized daily and thoroughly cleaned,” Chancellor said.
Chancellor said a part of limiting the barriers for teachers so they can teach efficiently is providing child care to those with children in grades kindergarten through fifth.
“This is for families who have children with no place to put them. They will have a place to be. They can bring their students. They will not be in a classroom with them. They will be in a separate specified area, and they will be doing their lessons virtually in a safe space like a common space such as a library,” Chancellor said. “In addition to that, we will be requiring students to wear masks, and they will be separated eight feet at all times.”
Other staff members will also supervise students.
Chancellor said though teachers are required to come back to the classrooms, the district will make the necessary exceptions.
“If there are health circumstances and have something of that nature, then we will work with them, and some exceptions will be made,” Chancellor said.
Classes will start on Aug. 17 and will be taught virtually for at least the first three weeks.
“If someone becomes sick, we will isolate the student, and their parents (will) know their child needs to be picked up immediately. We have handled situations where our staff was sick, unfortunately, a few times this summer,” Chancellor said. “As soon as they have a diagnosed positive case, there is a list of people they have to let know, like our health officials. They do contact tracing and contact anyone they came in contact with. We then send a letter to staff and let everyone know for transparency purposes.”
Chancellor also stressed it is important that students and teachers inform a supervisor if they are not feeling well.
“It is crucial that people be upfront on how they are feeling,” Chancellor said. “Even if they have a family member or someone in their home who is not feeling well, (teachers) need to tell their supervisor, so they will let them know if they should come in or not. We want to do our part to slow this thing down.”