SAN ANTONIO – As Labor Day approaches, some of the largest school districts in and around San Antonio are preparing to bring some of its students back to campus for in-person classes next week.
The San Antonio Independent School District is one of those districts.
SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez joined Leading SA Sunday morning to discuss what plan is in place for 10% of its students to return safely to the classroom in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our teachers have developed over a million lesson plans... What I’m hearing from many is that you know, they’re very happy. Our parents are happy that the programs are more rigorous, but it’s still a lot of work. So, again, I’m just grateful for everyone, you know, just working together,” Martinez said.
As many students have adapted to virtual learning, Martinez said older students are doing well with engagement; however, for younger students, it’s been more challenging.
“We’ve been examining which children have been struggling with engagement, and what we’ve seen is that our older children are actually doing very well in terms of just logging on and being engaged consistently,” Martinez said. “We’ve seen struggles with our younger children. I myself am a parent of a nine and six-year-old, so I empathize with our parents. We prioritize pre-K to second grade, our special needs children, as well as children of all ages that just were struggling or are not being engaged.”
With some students returning to the classroom and others continuing virtual learning, Martinez said it’s a bit of a balancing act for teachers.
“We’re giving [students] special equipment... We phase in more children in-person than we would keep their children. But right now, you know, each school has a plan. And so some teachers are going to teach virtually, you know, for the next two weeks, and then while other teachers can just focus on the children in person. But like I said, 60% of my teachers I know were purchasing equipment at their request because they’d like to be able to actually keep children in person and still be teaching virtually at the same time. That equipment’s coming in the next couple weeks,” Martinez said.
The school district is prepared for the students’ return to the classroom and has several health precautions in place, according to Martinez, which includes providing face shields for students, adding specialized air conditioning filters, and more.
You can watch the full Leading SA interview with Dr. Martinez in the video player above.