Aransas Pass ISD answers questions on back-to-school COVID-19 plan

Posted at 3:57 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 16:57:28-04

The surge in Delta COVID-19 variant cases has many wondering about the return to school this fall.

With children under 12 still ineligible for a vaccine and some area districts already seeing case numbers as they return to class, Coastal Bend communities are concerned as the pandemic continues.

Each school district in the Coastal Bend has, or is working on a back-to-school COVID-19 contingency plan.

Representatives from Refugio ISD's answered some of our question's about it's back-to-school COVID-19 plan:

Will there be mandates or guidance related to mask-wearing for staff and students?

Due to the Governor's orders we cannot mandate mask-wearing. Students and staff are encouraged to wear masks if they wish and we will be glad to provide a mask to anyone that wants one.

Will students be able to remote learn as they did last year? Do they need to appeal to the school to do
this? What is the criteria?

We will only be offering on-campus instruction at this time. We believe this is the best method for ensuring access to the highest level of instruction and support.

Will your district be providing electronic devices for remote learning? Will those be shared per family?

We will not be offering remote learning, but we have devices for all students and will be using them as tools in the educational process. At the secondary level, they will be checked out to each student for use during the year, while at the elementary level they will utilize them more in the classroom.

What is the contingency plan for handling outbreaks on campus or on school busses?

It is difficult to put in place one plan for possible scenarios. Therefore, we will work to mitigate any outbreaks on campuses and then address an "outbreak" quickly and safely as the circumstance would warrant.

Will teachers be able to remote teach? Do they need to appeal to the school to do this? What is the

We will not be providing any remote instruction other than what our teachers may provide as part of the APISD educational process. We are incorporating blended learning on all campuses with
some teachers using technology in various exciting ways.

Are there students and staff reporting cases to your district already? How many?

Will quarantined students be penalized for absences? Attendance requirements are set by the TEA and at this time all absences must be recorded as either excused or unexcused absence. With the proper
documentation it can be excused, but it is still an absence.

Will your district partner with anyone to offer COVID-19 vaccines to students and staff? When will those be?

Last year we partnered with HEB to offer vaccinations for all staff and students that were old enough. We have not discussed doing that again, but will begin those conversations as we get
closer to the start of school.

Will vaccine requirements extend to the COVID-19 vaccine?

We cannot require anyone to get a vaccination.

Will your district strongly recommend that all students need to get vaccinated for COVID-19? Obviously, there
is no law currently in place and children under 12 are not currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. But will
your district strong suggest it?

That is a decision that needs to be made by families, not the school district.

What kind of sanitation practices will be implemented with students returning to in-person learning?

We are continuing all of our cleaning protocols that were done last year which include custodians doing constant disinfecting of heavy traffic areas, sanitizing rooms between use, and all healthy hygiene practices for staff and students expected at all times.

Is there state or federal funding available to offset these costs?

We have received federal funding through the ESSER II and III grants to aid us in covering the extra expenses.

How will extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs be affected in the upcoming school year?

At this time, there is no change as we continue to use hygiene processes and monitor the situations.

At APSID, we are preparing to provide a safe and exciting new year for our students. We realize there are many issues that we will all face as we walk through this together, but we must find a way to move forward for the sake of our children and their future.