The Aledo ISD board of trustees approved a revised instructional calendar for the upcoming school year as well as heard a presentation on potential costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic Monday night.
The Texas Education Agency updated its guidance on July 17.
“The general requirement for in-person instruction from this date is that on-campus instruction must be served for all grades on campuses every day for every student, for every instructional day on the calendar. Essentially, any day that we have instruction, we have to have in-person instruction,” AISD Superintendent Dr. Susan K. Bohn said. “Right now what TEA is telling us is if a campus closes because of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, the campus can only close for five consecutive days while offering virtual, and still get funding.”
In its guidance, TEA is allowing options for districts for the first four weeks of school.
“During those [first] four weeks, the district can decide to serve students in any way — full virtual, full in-person, full hybrid — so there is a four-week period where that really is in the authority of the district to take care of that,” Bohn said. “In that second four weeks, we have to provide in-person instruction for anyone who wants to come so it is a little different than the first four weeks.”
TEA left the school calendars in the hands of local districts.
“Due to the impact of COVID-19, we have three proposals for calendar revisions that we would like to bring to the board for consideration,” AISD Deputy Superintendent Lynn McKinney said. “The first proposal that we would like to put forth is to add an additional 10 minutes to the daily instructional schedule for all students. We would add 10 minutes to the end of the instructional day. We currently have a little over two days banked, so that will give us a total of six days banked in anticipation of a closure during the coming school year. The feedback for the 10 minutes was that we need it.”
The other two proposed revisions were to recapture an additional 13 days to give AISD a total of 19 days to utilize if needed.
According to the calendar, instruction is set to begin on Aug. 19.
The AISD board of trustees approved the 2020-21 calendar revisions.
According to TEA guidelines, school districts should increase sanitizing and safety measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which includes having hand sanitizer available and encouraging the washing of hands frequently, cleaning district facilities more often, complying with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order on the requirement of face masks and practicing social distancing when possible.
AISD Chief Financial Officer Earl Husfeld presented some COVID-19 related expenditures.
“There are many variables that we just don’t know relative to this because as we’ve talked about many times before, it’s an uncharted area for us,” Husfeld said. “I just listed some of the items that we’ve tried to make educated estimates on. This is kind of the best we’ve come up with so far and by no means is all-inclusive.”
The projected amounts included paper towels for classroom use, $212,520; hand sanitizer for all facilities, $351,000; hand sanitizer for common areas, $27,000; approved disinfectant to utilize throughout the district, $27,000; foam antibacterial soap for classrooms with sinks, $22,500; electrostatic misting/spraying the facilities once a month and twice per month during flu season, $130,000; having additional custodial staff from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $144,000; and providing internet access hotspots, $150,000 — a total of $1,064,020 for the listed items. The costs may vary significantly and the number of students receiving in-person instruction will impact the amounts. The cost for masks and face shields was not revealed as well as the cost for barriers for reception areas and cafeterias.