For Lakeside Elementary fourth grade teacher Frankie Robertson, seeing students walk into the building was emotional.
Most of her team moved with students who had been in the third grade into the fourth grade this year, she said.
“With everything going on, and not getting to see my students, or them see each other, since spring break, it was great to feel even the slightest bit of normal,” she said.
Now, as of Tuesday, the plans Coppell ISD put in place have been set in real-time motion.
According to the district’s latest published data on how many students chose in-person or virtual learning for the first chunk of the school year, 30% of CISD secondary students and 26% of its elementary students opted for in-person learning. Every campus listed by the district reported that less than 50% of its students had opted to return for in-person learning during the first grading period of the school year.
For Superintendent Brad Hunt, it was the attention to detail in the runup to in-person learning that helped the transition from plan to reality.
Overall, he said, he thinks the transition has gone well. He credits that to the district teachers and staff and adds that he doesn’t want to discount what parents and students have done, either.
“I think the majority of our parents truly understand that it is a partnership, and they're working very closely with us,” he said.
Robertson said safety procedures make up a new routine to follow in addition to walking in line or teaching kids where to turn in an assignment.
“As with any start to a new year, or as in this case, a new scenario, patience is a definite must and for these procedures to be set in place, we have to focus on them,” Robertson said. “For face to face students, that additional adjustment means additional time spent on procedures that might otherwise go to instruction.”
While there have been challenges, she said, “but the truth is that there are a lot of teachers in this school that have worked really hard to put us all in a better position to work through the challenges we face working both with our face to face learners and our virtual students.”
At the same time, the district is keeping room for adjustment. Hunt said the district’s Return to School Task Force, which he said made every effort to “cross every 't' and dot every 'i'” with regard to school day safety procedures, has remained intact. That task force continues to review district processes and make any necessary adjustments.
“We're taking it in increments of nine weeks at a time,” Hunt said, “and so not only are we asking people to commit to the nine weeks, either in-person or remote, that's also given us an opportunity to kind of, if we need to make a change, either how we're doing some things with staff or with students or instruction, then we can kind of monitor and adjust as we go.”
Coppell ISD has posted a public dashboard on its website that will keep track of staff and student COVID-19 cases as the district moves through the academic year. As of Thursday evening, the dashboard shows two staff cases of COVID-19: one staff member is from Town Center Elementary, and the other is from New Tech High @ Coppell.
The dashboard also shows two in-person student cases of COVID-19. One student is from Coppell High School, and the other is from the Coppell High School Ninth Grade Campus. A remote student from Coppell Middle School North is also reported to have an active case of COVID-19.
The district has stated that cases that are no longer active will be removed from the dashboard.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated and quarantined in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dallas County Health and Human Services, the district dashboard page states.