BOERNE, Texas – Wednesday is the first day back at school for students in the Boerne Independent School District.
When parents were polled from the district if they wanted their students to return for in-person learning, 77% of parents said they wanted their children back in the classroom.
The district said they have been working hard through the summer alongside medical professionals, parents and teachers for the best ways to keep their children safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bryan Benway, Director of Communications for Boerne ISD said the district has taken several steps to ensure social distancing will take place at the school. Masks will be required for everyone on campus, with the exception of students and teachers in special education.
“They can also wear a face shield if it’s developmentally appropriate,” Benway said. “So special education students will be allowed to wear a face shield. Teachers who work with special education students can wear those face shields because visually for those students it’s very important for them to see facial features and the mouth and that way they can still learn.”
Social distancing markers of six feet apart have been set up in the schools, gyms and cafeterias.
“We have installed plexiglass and dividers on some desks in schools where it’s needed,” Benway said. “We’ve put up sanitization stations around all of our buildings. We’ve also put separated tables in classrooms, cafeterias — and temperature check stations.”
Tracy Hardgrave is sending her two sons in the fourth and second grade back to school at Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary for in-person learning. She says she feels safe with her children going back in school.
“We are very confident,” Hardgrove said. “We feel very comfortable coming back to school. The boys are excited. I follow them on Facebook and I have seen some of the things that they are doing to prepare.”
Sadie Steinke is a fourth grader at Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary and says she is excited to go back.
“They make me feel safe,” Sadie said. “It doesn’t really worry me because I know we are all going to be safe and social distancing. I’m just really excited to go back.”
Sadie said despite all the new rules and her school looking very different— she says it’s just something students will have to get used to.
“It’s going to be different, but I think we can all do it.”
It will not be mandatory for everyone to get their temperature checked when entering the buildings. Benway said those stations are there if anyone feels the need to get their temperature checked. Staff is required to take their temperature at home and fill out a daily health report through a mobile app. The district encourages parents to take their child’s temperature at home and not send their child to school if they are showing any signs of illness.
School buses will be cleaned after every ride, and everyone on the bus is required to space out and wear a mask.
“We highly encourage parents if possible to bring their kids to school,” Benway said. “That way just like in the classroom we can do a good job of social distancing on the bus and after each bus ride the buses will have enhanced cleaning protocols.”
As for how the district plans to keep students safe in the cafeteria or playgrounds, tables have been spaced out and social distancing is still required when playing outside. Playground equipment will also be sanitized daily.
Some Boerne students start first day of virtual learning: