Lewisville ISD officials say there is no truth to the rumor that classes will be going fully remote after the Thanksgiving break.
Rumor had spread this past week that that was the case, especially as the number of COVID-19 cases in the county and around the state continue to rise.
During Monday’s LISD Board of Trustees meeting, Superintendent put that rumor to rest.
“That is absolutely not true,” Rogers said. “Unless something really drastic happens between now and then.”
But Rogers said the district will continue to be in “level orange” mitigation level for the foreseeable future.
“I think with the surge that’s happening in our county and in the state it warrants that we continue to be vigilant regarding our mitigation level,” Rogers said.
Level orange is the most restrictive level next to shelter in place. Measures include face coverings for students older than 10, temperature screenings, revised classroom arrangements, altered passing periods and limited group gatherings. At any safety level, hand washing and sanitizing will take place more often. Staff will also wear face coverings. They will be expected to social distance, and visitors to the campus will be limited. Special needs teachers will be provided face shields since some safety measures won’t be possible.
Amanda Brim, chief communications officer, said Thursday there is no specific threshold that would prompt the district to go to full remote learning.
“That decision would be based on the situation at a campus and determined by a variety of factors, with input from health officials,” Brim said.
She added that the district plans to continue offering families the option of having their children do in-person or virtual learning at the beginning of every nine-week period. The deadline for parents to make that decision for the third nine-weeks is Dec. 4.
Even though Rogers said the district has no plans to move exclusively to remote learning after Thanksgiving he addressed how the pandemic has impacted campuses around the district and the area.
In fact, Coppell ISD announced Wednesday that it is shutting down its high school and ninth-grade campus for five days. Per The Texas Education Agency allowed districts a five-day window of fully remote learning with no impact to their funding. However, at the end of the five days, districts must once again provide an in-person school option for families.
Sanger ISD closed its high school and middle school from Nov. 9 to Nov. 20.
“All school districts around periodically have to close campuses, close classrooms,” Rogers said. “We certainly haven’t done campuses. We have closed classrooms before.”
As of Thursday LISD officials had not provided the number of classrooms that have been closed.
Rogers noted a new rule issued by the Texas Education Agency that states if a student has a 70 or lower, or if they have three or more unexcused absences in a grading period, district can require parents to return their child to in-person learning after the district gives a two-week notice.
Rogers said another concern is the number of teachers who are out sick or who have resigned. As of Monday there were 13 teacher vacancies and 43 vacant teacher support positions.
“We continue to have concerns about classrooms and coverage,” Rogers said. “We’re looking at all different types of things to make sure we can get subs in our classrooms when we have a teacher who has to be quarantined because they’ve been exposed or of course when a teacher has tested positive.”
LISD has taken several steps to fill the substitute shortages. In August the district increased the salary of substitutes. At that meeting Rogers said the district has 460 subs lined up to start the school year, whereas usually at this time of year there are 700-800.
Last year the district approved a plan to place full-time subs at hard-to-fill campuses. It began doing that at eight campuses and finished the year doing that at 28 campuses.
Also last year, the district approved the placement of a full-time sub at each elementary campus and two full-time subs at each middle school campus because of COVID-19.
Rogers said as of Monday there were 125 sub positions filled and three open.