SAN ANTONIO – The start of the school year for Judson ISD staff and students will be a bit later than expected in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
As cases continue to surge in San Antonio and Bexar County, the Judson ISD Board of Trustees held a special meeting Thursday where they approved an instructional calendar with a new start of school date of Aug. 24.
The new start date is almost a week later from the original start date of Aug. 18 and will give staff and students more time to prepare for the school year and gather supplies. All students will receive instruction remotely.
The rest of the calendar year will be unchanged, according to school district officials, except for switching the Columbus Day holiday for Election Day, which will be on Nov. 3.
The new start date was prompted after JISD staff sent a survey to employees earlier this summer as COVID-19 cases surged in the area and health directives for the start of the school year were continuing to change under local and state orders.
The new start date of Aug. 24 had a majority of support from employees, according to Judson ISD officials.
After Labor Day, beginning on September 8, Judson ISD will offer a “Safe Haven” option for students in addition to the remote learning.
Those interested in the “Safe Haven” must meet these requirements:
- A student has no internet connectivity at home.
- A student receives Special Education Services.
- A student is a child of two working parents and childcare is unavailable.
- A student is a child of a first responder (law enforcement, fire department, EMS, medical hospital personnel, active duty military
Then, beginning Sept. 28, two instructional options will be available — either face to face Instruction or virtual instruction.
Looking ahead, school officials said school will be a lot different for students next fall.
Ken Johnson, the director of transportation, said it starts as soon as students get on the school bus. Buses will have a list of COVID-19 symptoms posted on the bus window and students will have their hands sprayed as soon as they enter the bus.
“The bus is going to be sanitized at least six times during the day. In addition, we have added another process where twice a month we will fog the buses each and every month,” he explained.
Students in 4th grade and up will be required to wear face masks on the bus. Windows will also be opened to allow more fresh air to flow in.
Once students get on the campus, things will also be more active, said Terry Yaklin, director of maintenance.
“Now we’re looking at cleaning between every class period,” he said.
A crew of 200 custodians and 50-60 maintenance staff will work to clean more than 40 buildings in all the campuses throughout the day.
“Our eyes are going to be open more to ensure that restrooms are cleaned and remain clean on a regular basis, classrooms, door knobs, doorjambs are being wiped down on a regular basis,” he said.