RRISD Announce Changes for Second 9 Weeks of School

This morning an email was sent to Round Rock ISD parents with the plans for in-person learning for the second 9 weeks of school announced.

For the first 9 weeks, parents had the option to choose whether their child would attend school virtually or in-person. In person so far has consisted of children attending school in “pod-like” settings. For middle and high school students, this consisted of sitting in front of a laptop in a classroom all day “attending” classes virtually.

High School & Middle School Changes

With the second 9 weeks, Round Rock Superintendent Steve Flores announced a big change for middle and high school students, allowing then to attend in-person classes for fine-arts, athletics, Career & Technical Education classes, physical education, and some classes grouped by academic programming determined by the campus.

He also announced that “Assuming there is no spike or reversal in the positive trend we are currently experiencing, we would begin allowing middle and high schools to resume a traditional schedule with students rotating to all classes on November 9.”

Masks and social distancing will be required.

Elementary School Changes

Currently at the elementary school level, classes have returned to normal, with in-person learning with one teacher. Obviously masks, social distancing and other requirements have been added. This will continue for elementary schools.

Virtual Learning

Parents can choose to keep their child at home for virtual learning for the second nine weeks if they choose to do so.

RRISD parents will be receiving a survey on October 1 to make their selection for their child and will have until October 7 to complete it. If they do not fill out the survey, their child will be kept in the same modality as they are in for the first 9 weeks of school.

Superintendent Update: What to Expect and Choosing Your Learning Preference for the Next Nine Weeks 

Dear Round Rock ISD Families,

Thank you for your patience and cooperation this school year as we navigate the challenges of virtual learning and acclimate to rigorous health and safety protocols while on campus. Every decision we make is to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and community and to increase our chances of returning to school as we’ve come to expect it, with all the enrichment, engagement and social interactions that students need and deserve.

Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our students, teachers, administrators and support staff, positive cases of COVID-19 have been relatively low in Round Rock ISD and, when they occur, we have been able to continue on-campus learning with little impact to others. That success is due to the stringent social distancing and safety protocols we have in place that have minimized opportunities for close contact among staff and students.

In August, we asked parents and students to choose either at-home or on-campus learning for the first nine-week grading period of the school year. The second nine-week period of the 2020-2021 school year begins October 19 and we will once again be asking you to select your learning preference. Campuses will be emailing choice forms tomorrow, Thursday, October 1. To help you make that choice, we want to share what you can expect on-campus learning to look like beginning October 19.

What to expect on middle and high school campuses beginning October 19

Currently at middle and high schools, students are grouped into “learning pods” and remain essentially in one classroom throughout the day, participating in their classes virtually. This approach has allowed us to minimize spread of COVID-19 and, in the infrequent instances of positive cases, easily contact trace and quarantine those affected. Given the positive public health trends in both Williamson and Travis counties, beginning October 19, we plan to allow middle and high school students to transition to certain classes, including fine arts, athletics, Career & Technical Education classes, physical education, and some classes grouped by academic programming determined by the campus.

We will monitor the effect of this transition on the public health of our campus communities, as well as public health trends in the community at large, during the following two weeks. Assuming there is no spike or reversal in the positive trend we are currently experiencing, we would begin allowing middle and high schools to resume a traditional schedule with students rotating to all classes on November 9. The timeline for these transitions may vary campus-to-campus, depending on the number of students who return to on-campus learning. As more students return, class sizes will increase and maintaining the recommended 45-square-feet per student in each classroom may not be possible. We will continue to be vigilant in our health and safety protocols, including requiring masks and frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, to minimize harmful exposure.

What to expect on elementary campuses beginning October 19

At the elementary level, on-campus instruction has looked much the same as pre-pandemic except that classes are currently much smaller, which allows for social distancing in the classrooms. We are also strictly enforcing hand-washing and hand-sanitizing protocols and the wearing of face masks. However, as in middle and high schools, as more students return, class sizes will increase and maintaining the recommended 45-square-feet per student in each classroom may not be possible. We will continue to be vigilant in our health and safety protocols, including frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, to minimize harmful exposure.

Virtual instruction for the second nine-week grading period

Students will still be able to remain in an at-home virtual learning environment and students participating in on-campus learning can switch to at-home learning at any time. 

Parents will receive a link to a choice form on October 1 and will have until October 7 to select either on-campus or at-home instruction for the second nine-week grading period. Those who do not respond will remain in the learning environment selected for the first nine weeks. It is important to note that if a large number of students return to the classroom, families could see a shift in virtual instruction delivery, such as a change in teacher or adjustment in schedule.

We hope this information is helpful as you make decisions for the next grading period. For additional information in making your decision, you can also review the Instructional Choice document on the Round Rock ISD Reimagining Education website, which includes a campus-by-campus breakdown of the number of students receiving on-campus or virtual instruction and is updated as new data becomes available. 

This measured, cautious approach is intended to help us return to normal operations in a safe manner and to minimize the possibility of wholesale campus closures. We are very hopeful that conditions allow us to move toward a more traditional school day, but will remain vigilant in protecting the health and safety of our staff and students. We will continue to monitor public health conditions and consult with our local health authorities to guide next steps.

Please know that we are working diligently to welcome our students back and provide a safe, engaging, rigorous, nurturing environment for everyone. We appreciate your support, patience and partnership in this endeavor.

Second 9-weeks instructional choice summary

Important dates and disclosures

  • The second 9-week grading period begins Monday, Oct. 19
  • On Thursday, Oct. 1, campuses will email the primary parent/guardian the student instruction Choice Form for the second 9-weeks.
  • Between Thursday, Oct. 1 through Wednesday, Oct. 7 use the choice form to select either at-home virtual or on-campus instruction.
  • Those who do not respond will remain in the learning environment selected for the first 9-weeks. 
  • Families could see a shift in virtual instruction delivery, such as a change in teacher or adjustment in the schedule if a large number of students elect to return to campus.
  • All staff and students must wear masks while on school grounds.
  • Grab & Go breakfast and lunch are available for purchase, or free for those who qualify under the National School Lunch Program.
  • Vigilant cleaning practices and protocols continue.
  • More information about students device use on-campus and Transportation services to follow.

Middle & High School

  • May transition to certain classes, including fine arts, athletics, Career & Technical Education classes, physical education, and some classes grouped by academic programming determined by the campus.
  • On Monday, Nov. 9, if there is no spike or reversal in the positive trends, middle and high school students may be able to resume a traditional schedule with students rotating to all classes.
  • Because the number of students who return to campus will vary by school, transitioning timelines can vary campus-to-campus.
  • As more students return, class sizes will increase, and maintaining the recommended 45-square-feet per student in each classroom may not be possible.
  • Masks are required.

Elementary School

  • On-campus instruction looks much the same as pre-pandemic except that classes are currently much smaller.
  • Frequent hand-washing and hand-sanitizing protocols are integrated throughout the school day. 
  • As more students return, class sizes will increase and, maintaining the recommended 45-square-feet per student in each classroom may not be possible.
  • Masks are required.

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