The deadline has passed for Brownwood ISD parents to submit a survey regarding whether their children will attend school in person or through remote learning. With a 60 percent response rate, BISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Young said in a Thursday morning interview on KOXE that, “we are going to be reaching out to the other 40 percent over the next couple of days to see if they will give us their initial gut feeling.”
Aug. 5 is the date in which students must finalize either their face-to-face or remote preference for the fall semester.
Thus far, Young stated about 1,800 responses have been received with approximately 80 percent of the students choosing to return to the traditional classroom experience.
“We got a pretty good response, but not as much as we need,” Young said. “This is for planning purposes because as you can imagine to stand up two different education systems we have to look at personnel – how many teachers, how many students are going remote, how many face-to-face, class groupings, etc.”
While the time to fill out the survey has passed, online registration continues.
“Returning students can update their information as far as address, phone number and those kind of things,” Young said. “New student registration is also available.”
Other topics Young discussed include:
Remote learning and extracurricular activities
“We won’t have that at the beginning of the fall semester,” Young said. “If you want to participate in truly extracurricular activities – athletics, marching band, ag, those kind of things – then you need to choose the face-to-face instructional model at the beginning of the fall. There are a lot of logistics that go into that. For marching band, cross country, tennis, football, volleyball, those kind of activities that start up immediately when school starts, we think there are some safety concerns and logistics where you need to be on campus for us to be sure you can safely participate.
“As we move through the year, we’re going to continue to look at that. As the UIL has more extracurricular options for online situations, then we’re going to look at that and possibly see if there are ways that remote students can safely and logistically participate. I would say for team sports that’s probably not going to change. Say you’re running track in the spring, we want to know you are healthy enough to do that and that we’ve seen you every day. We also don’t want kids who are doing remote learning to have to travel back and forth to the campus every day, that just takes a lot of time and transportation issues.
“We still offer all required curriculum by remote. Some things we don’t offer remotely, but we do have alternatives so contact your counselor or principal at the campuses. Say if a student was doing volleyball to get a P.E. credit, we still offer remote P.E. and you won’t lose that credit. If a student wanted to do a certified assistant nursing program as their health requirement, we still offer health remotely.”
“As far as masks go, fourth grade and above are required to wear masks at school, even in the classroom setting,” Young said. “There are some exceptions to that. If a kid is involved in a physical activity they don’t have to wear it – if they’re outside at recess or P.E., or participating in a sports – or if they are able to six foot distance themselves in a classroom. In the hallways, we’re going to require masks.
“For teachers it’s the same thing, they’ll be required to wear masks at all times unless they can maintain a six foot distance from students in the classroom.
“For students in third grade and below, that’s still a parent choice but all teachers and staff at that level will wear a mask when they can’t social distance.”
Young stated that all students who ride the bus, regardless of age and grade, must wear a mask. There will also be assigned seats on the bus.
“Go to our website, brownwoodisd.org, and check out our COVID return plan,” Young said. “It changes almost daily, but that’s where you can find the latest information. A lot of things I talked about two weeks ago have already changed. For example, just yesterday on our plan we had to change about how to clean based on CDC guidelines, return to school options for TEA has changed, screening questions have changed, and the class close contact definition has changed. What I tell you may change this afternoon, and it’s not that we don’t have a good handle on it, it’s just that things are changing.”