Need to Know: 2020–21 School Year to Begin with Virtual Instruction
As you may have heard, Austin ISD will suspend in-person education and deliver virtual instruction for the first three weeks of the 2020-21 school year. We will continue to look to federal, state and local authorities for guidance and directives. You can anticipate further communication on how we have made things more efficient, rigorous and engaging in the near future. In the meantime, we want you to know:
- Austin ISD has learned much about continuous learning. Simply put, at-home instruction will not look like it did in March, April and May.
- The AISD Academics, Professional Learning, Technology teams and teachers have been working hard over the summer to create high-quality, online instructional resources for students in all grades that will be much more comprehensive and robust than what existed in the spring.
- Austin ISD is designing high-quality course content that can be delivered either 100% virtually or face-to-face. We also know the connection between teachers and students, whether in a face-to-face or remote environment, is crucial to a student's success.
- The BLEND (Canvas) system will be used in grades pre-K-12 with the use of Seesaw as a supplemental tool in grades pre-K-2.
- Through BLEND, students and parents will receive all communication about course assignments, be able to watch videos, access lesson content, submit assignments, receive feedback on assignments and communicate with their teachers.
- Students in grades pre-K through second grade will also be able to use Seesaw, which can be accessed through BLEND, as a supplemental, developmentally-appropriate tool for younger learners.
- To give our families a better understanding of our academic approach, we created a video with Dr. Cruz and members of the academics team.
Need to Know: Personal Protective Equipment
Our top priority is maintaining the health and safety of our students and staff when classroom instruction resumes. The AISD Board of Trustees approved the allocation of $13 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) for the school year 2020-21. This investment will help us provide masks, sanitizers and additional cleaning supplies to ensure all of our learning environments are clean and safe. When face-to-face instruction does resume, we encourage students and staff to bring their own face mask. If they cannot, we will provide masks to those who need them. Each campus will:
- Provide a mask to students and staff who do not bring one. Families may help to prepare their child by wearing a mask at home.
- Provide each classroom with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
- Ensure all campuses have an allotment of PPE and cleaning material on-site each week.
- Train all Austin ISD employees to follow health safety protocols.
- Provide all campuses with touchless thermometers.
- Implement daily health screenings for all staff prior to entering campus.
- Modify daily cleaning schedules to ensure each space is sanitized and disinfected multiple times a day and deep cleaning of campuses occur once a week.
Good to Know: Immunization Registration
As you prepare for the back-to-school season, we want to remind you that students must have their immunizations before the first day of school on Aug. 18. Otherwise, you will be asked to obtain the needed vaccines for your child before the student is allowed to return to learning.
For resources on free and low-cost vaccines visit www.austintexas.gov/department/immunizations.
Get in the Know: AISD Reopening Information Sessions
Austin ISD is hosting two virtual information sessions to help give students, families and staff a stronger sense of what the return to school will look and feel like. Participants will get a look into “a day in the life” of at-home learning and on-campus face-to-face learning.
We invite our AISD learning communities to join us in the conversation. Events will be streamed on AISD.TV, cable channel 22, and Facebook Live with consecutive Spanish interpretation.
At-Home Distance Teaching & Learning
Wednesday, July 22, 9-10:30 a.m.
On-Campus Face-to-Face Teaching & Learning and Safety Protocols
Thursday, July 23, noon-1:30 p.m.
Questions can be submitted in advance on the Padlet app. Participants can also submit questions live during the event. For more information, please contact Courtney Liebich at email@example.com.
Click to Know:
Austin ISD is using Let’s Talk to answer your questions. Visit www.austinisd.org/letstalk or text 512-886-6434.
Families may also call the Family Support line at 512-414-9187. Support is available Mon.–Thurs. from 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
AISD officials released a video answering questions about AISD’s return to school in English and Spanish. Though the video was released prior to the July 14 statement, it addresses many of the questions we are hearing. We hope you will take the time to watch.
Statement from the Board President on behalf of the AISD Board of Trustees.