With Mineral Wells ISD students heading back to school on Aug. 18, district staff is ramping up procedures, as presented to the board of trustees during a Zoom meeting earlier this week.
Mineral Wells has 796 students enrolled for online classes through the Asynchronous Remote Instruction Academy.
Under these guidelines, students can work at their own place but must log in and complete work as assigned each day, MWISD Executive Director of Curriculum Carey Carter told the board.
Students enrolled in remote learning will stay in the program for a full grading period, but parents can request their child to be moved to on-campus learning at the end of each grading period. If a student is on campus and wants to switch to remote learning, the parent needs to speak with the principal and they can move them if there are concerns over COVID-19, Carter said.
The remote learning schedule is required to have 180 minutes for Pre-K students, 180 minutes for kindergarten through fifth grade and 240 minutes for grades sixth through 12th. Mineral Wells ISD’s plan has 300 minutes, which is equivalent to on-campus learning, Carter said.
Instructional videos will be regularly uploaded to the learning management system (Google Classroom). The remote learning will use all state-adopted materials that are used on campus, with the exception of bilingual students, who will use the Texas Home Learning 3.0 system available from the Texas Education Agency for students up through fifth grade in reading.
Students are expected to be engaged every day in every period to get credit, and must turn in work or show they’re doing progress through teacher interaction or Google Classroom to get attendance credit.
Regarding discipline, remote students will follow a code of conduct and complete a digital citizenship module on how to behave online. All remote academy students will follow the same grading policy as found in the face-to-face model, and high school credit will be earned to count toward GPA and class rank.
Sanitation and cleaning measures have been conducted at all campuses throughout the summer. Water fountains will be blocked off, though students may use touchless machines to fill up water bottles.
School buses are being continually washed and sanitized. Drivers will be spraying the whole bus with sanitizer after each route, and buses will also be fogged with a 14-day cleaning solution at least twice a week.
All riders and drivers will be required to wear masks or face coverings, and a gallon of hand sanitizer will be available on each bus. Food and drink will also be prohibited.
Transportation Director Bret Barrick said one of the challenges would be trying to social distance, and encouraged parents that are able to drive their children to school to do so to help with that.
Food service staff is planning to provide meals in classrooms for all elementary students for breakfast and lunch.
There will be no choices, and meals will come in sacks, which will be delivered to the hall in sanitized tubs.
“These are going to be hot meals with fresh vegetables, no sandwiches,” Food Services Director Carrie Davis said.
Junior high students will get the same thing, but in to-go containers. High schoolers will get a choice in meals, which will be put in to-gos as well.
“We will put their choice in and we will take their number so they don’t have to touch the keypad at all,” Davis said.
MWISD is using Labatt Food Services and CD Hartnett to get its meals, and is expected to get its third truck Friday.
During Monday’s meeting, the board also:
• Heard an update from Technology Director Justin Lascasak on inventory, software system integration and the scheduled delivery dates for Chromebooks and iPads.
• Heard from Assistant Superintendent of HR/Human Services David Tarver on updates to the student and employee handbooks for 2020-21.
Tarver said one of the updates to the student handbook included an emphasis on defining mental health counseling, what services are provided through that and really focusing on students and their need. It also included information for parents to contact any resources they may need.
Updates also include a bigger protocol in place on defining sex trafficking and labor trafficking, identifying the two types, warning signs people can look for and how they can report it.
A clause was also added in the student handbook specifically for COVID-19, outlining consequences for any student that intentionally coughs, sneezers or spits on another student.
Updated to the employee handbook include more strict definitions for harassment and bullying, and noting public versus private devices, such as cell phones, and how information on both is still considered public.
• Renewed its memorandum of understanding with the city of Mineral Wells to use its shooting range for ISD personnel training as part of the Guardian Program.
• Set a board meeting for Aug. 27 to possibly adopt a budget and tax rate of $1.0427 per $100 valuation for maintenance and operation and $.3706 for interest and sinking.
• Approved its School Resource Officer Program Agreement.
• Approved an interlocal agreement for Emergency Management Services to provide ambulance services and junior high and high school football games at a cost of $150 per event ($50 per hour).