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Important Update Regarding the BISD 2020-21 School Year

August 3, 2020

First, thank you for your patience as we continue to unroll plans for the fall. The ever-changing mandates from other authorities certainly makes it difficult to announce one final plan. We know that can be frustrating for you as you weigh the decision that’s best for your child(ren). So again, thank you for hanging in there with us. Here is the latest plan following the Attorney General’s opinion letter from last week, which we developed in collaboration with Burleson health officials and medical professionals from Texas Health Huguley. 

All students will begin the school year in full remote instruction on August 31. September 8 will be the first day of full-time on-campus instruction. Students who select On-Campus Learning are invited to attend ‘BISD First Week’, a rotation schedule to allow students to adjust to new protocols. 

Students who have registered for on-campus instruction, you will be invited to your campus during the week of August 31 to learn and practice new safety protocols to prepare for full-time on-campus instruction the following week. Younger students need more time to learn names, locate areas in the building, and learn procedures, so you will be coming multiple times during the week. In addition to learning the new safety protocols, students in grades 6 and 9 need the opportunity to find their classes and practice their new schedules.  Accordingly, you will attend twice that week to practice safety.

The schedule is:

August 31 (Monday): Pre-K, K, 1, 6, 9

September 1 (Tuesday): Pre-K, K, 2, 7, 10 

September 2 (Wednesday): Pre-K, K, 3, 8, 11 

September 3 (Thursday): Pre-K, K, 4, 5, 6, 12 

September 4 (Friday): 1, 2, 9 

Students, when you are not scheduled for your on-campus day(s) during the first week, you will attend virtually to learn new technology (Schoology) and receive training from your teachers on these new tools and resources. 

The safety of your children and our staff is our top priority, which is why we have been planning our return to school with local health experts. To the Burleson Public Health Authority, thank you.  Thank you for partnering with us, helping us develop protocols to re-open buildings, and respond to any potential outbreaks.  We also extend our gratitude to Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South, who is also helping us plan to open buildings as safely as possible.

For more information about On-Campus Learning, including the extensive TEA requirements, please visit BISD On-Campus Learning. Campus-specific information will be provided later this week. Links to information follow: 

  • Health protocols - screening & isolation, campus cleaning, guidelines for handling positive incidents of COVID-19 
  • Dress Code - We understand standardized dress might place a financial burden on our families or may be difficult to obtain. Elementary and middle schoolers may follow the high school dress code this year. 
  • School Supplies - other than basic school supplies (paper, pencil, a pencil bag, crayons) we do not request parents purchase additional school supplies.

BISD’s Virtual Learning is more robust this year. Remember that virtual learners are a part of the school community and are encouraged to participate virtually in all Meet the Teacher and school kick-off events. Once class lists are finalized, teachers will reach out to you to begin the process of setting up accounts. A schedule will also be distributed for grades PK-3 and new students who have not yet been issued a device. For more information about Virtual Learning, please visit BISD Virtual Learning

Please complete registration and the “Instructional Choice for 2020-21” form through Skyward Family Access. You may change each student’s learning preference up to August 17. To complete registration, visit Skyward Family Access HERE.

Many of you will greet the news of our latest plans with joy.  Some of you will have concerns.  We ask everyone to work together to make this school year successful for the health and welfare of all our students and staff.  We ask you to please follow the state rules.  Please follow the local rules.  When you should, please wear a face covering.  Social distance as much as you can.  Our local COVID-19 data is a bit of a mixed bag.  Some of the data looks promising.  Some does not.  But if we all practice safety first, we believe we can do this for our kids. Thank you for working with us.


July 29, 2020

As you know, local health authorities for Tarrant County and the City of Burleson ordered area districts to provide only virtual instruction through September 28, 2020.  Although the Governor and TEA previously stated that school district buildings could be closed to the public by local health officials, the Attorney General issued an opinion letter yesterday concluding that local health officials do not have such authority.  Yesterday afternoon, TEA announced new requirements in light of the Attorney General’s opinion.  BISD leadership is reviewing the new guidance and conferring with local health and city officials, as still required by TEA, and intends to announce new plans for on-campus and virtual instruction by Monday, August 3.  If you would like to review the new TEA guidance, please follow the links below.

 

https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid/SY-20-21-Public-Health-Operational-Guidebook.pdf 

https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid/SY-20-21-Public-Health-Guidance.pdf 

 


On July 21, Public Health Authorities for Tarrant County, the City of Arlington, and the City of Burleson issued a joint order, announcing that schools may not begin in-person instruction until after September 28. In accordance with this order, all Burleson ISD students will begin the 2020-21 school year with Virtual Learning. As part of the order, all school-sponsored events and extracurricular activities, including athletics and fine arts, can only take place remotely or outdoors with face coverings and the appropriate social distancing. 

This was a difficult decision for our health leaders, and we know the ripple effect will be challenging for many of our families. None of us wanted to begin school this way. Our local health officials, however, directed us to the data showing a local rise in positive cases, which reflects recent statewide trends. Data provided to us by the Burleson Health Authority indicates that since June 1, the total number of reported positive cases in Burleson has increased significantly. The local positivity rate is 20%--twice the rate Governor Abbott says is the threshold for alarm. Dr. Colquitt, Infectious Disease Specialist for Tarrant County and Dr. Steve Martin, City of Burleson Local Health Authority and Medical Director, informed us that our area hospitals are approaching capacity for many resources, including nurses on staff and hospital beds. These medical experts are concerned that any large, indoor gatherings risk significant increases in community spread that could further tax our local health systems.  

We all want to see our students in the classroom, on the field, on the court, and at a performance. We know you do, too. We must also protect the health of students, staff, and families. Health officials who have been monitoring trend lines tell us surges in positive cases and hospitalizations appear about 3-4 weeks after holiday weekends. As a result, officials calculated for a potential surge following Labor Day, and delayed in-person instruction until September 28, 2020. Our goal is to get to in-person, on-campus activities as soon as we can—safely. 

TEA is expected to announce new programs to help districts offering virtual learning for all students under local health orders. Although we have already made plans for virtual learning, TEA’s assistance will be very helpful, and we will incorporate its solutions as soon as they are available. To ensure successful implementation of TEA’s new programs, we will delay the start of the school year from August 19 to August 31.

Please know On-Campus Learning will resume for parents who selected this learning option in accordance with state and local health guidelines when it is safe to return to campus. Student registration will continue for all BISD students through Family Access in Skyward, and the most current information and resources regarding Virtual Learning for the 2020-21 school year are available at https://bit.ly/BISD2020Learning. Parents concerned about the implementation of their students’ individual education plans (IEPs) may contact BISD Special Services. More information about activities, meals, Virtual Learning, and school calendar will be sent out soon. 

Burleson ISD will continue to provide updates as they become available.