Garland ISD reopening plans

Garland ISD recently announced that the Board of Trustees has approved a new 2020-21 academic calendar with a new school start date, new school hours and intersession dates. 

The calendar can be found at garlandisd.net/content/school-year-calendar.

According to the district, the new school hours now include additional instruction time each day.

General school hours for the coming school year will be:

  • Morning prekindergarten 8:05-11:10 a.m.
  • Afternoon prekindergarten 12:25-3:30 p.m.
  • Full-day prekindergarten 8:10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Elementary School 8:10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Middle School 8:50 a.m.-4:10 p.m.
  • High School 7:30 a.m.-2:50 p.m.

Recently Garland ISD families were presented with two options to choose from for their children when returning to school in August.

According to the FAQ, the district investigated multiple options, including hybrid models such as half-time in-person and half-time virtual.

“Many factors were examined, including whether or not half-time attendance actually limits exposure, the logistics for families and for classroom teachers, and the evolving guidelines from the Texas Education Agency. We determined that providing two choices so that families can make the best personal decision was the best option,” the district stated.

Families and students can change their option later in the year if they’d like, but the district recommends that students only make a change at the nine week grading period, if possible.

In the event that staff gets sick or have to quarantine, the district states that requirements to quarantine are determined by the health department. The district also noted that in addition to existing leave balances in effect for employees, Garland ISD will follow all provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which is in effect through Dec. 31, 2020.  The FFCRA provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for specific situations related to COVID-19.

“We also have a pool of over 600 substitute teachers who have committed to working for the 2020-21 school year,” the district stated. “We will continue to recruit and train substitute teachers so that we have an adequate number.”

Some precautions that will be in place on campus include increased signage around campuses promoting disease mitigation strategies, increased cleaning and sanitation practices, as well as frequent reminders of hand hygiene and social distancing. Masks will be highly recommended and encouraged for staff and students. GISD will comply with all health and safety recommendations established by the health department and Texas Education Agency.

Although face coverings are strongly encouraged for all staff and students, it is currently not mandated.

In regards to buses, the district stated that students will be assigned specific seats, and a seating chart will be maintained by the bus driver.

The bus driver and students will be strongly encouraged to wear face coverings and use hand sanitizer that will be provided when boarding the bus. Students are required to remain seated at all times and keep their hands and arms to themselves. Students should not touch each other or share any items. School buses will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day.

To find out more about the district’s plans for reopening, visit garlandisd.net/content/2020-21-school-reopening.

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