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Data: How Waco, McLennan County schools are preparing for the COVID-19 school year

Data: How Waco, McLennan County schools are preparing for the COVID-19 school year

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schools reopening

Staff members meet at Lorena High School. Lorena ISD will be the first district in the county to resume in-person classes, on Aug. 17.

The Tribune-Herald surveyed all 19 school districts in McLennan County, seeking their plans to reopen schools and details on how they plan to protect students and staff from the coronavirus. Not every district responded to the inquiries.

At least eleven districts still have registration open for selecting which instructional model students want, so it is unclear exactly how many McLennan County students will return to school in-person.  > Read the full story

Axtell ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 791

Opening day: Aug. 19 for all

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 14

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 70%

Typical class size, expected: Varies by grade, vast majority of classes have less than 15

Planned safety precautions: Masks required on buses and for grades 4-12, "pods" for elementary students, physical distancing, daily health screenings, social distancing on buses, upgraded ventilation system and plans to install ultraviolet disinfection

Notification plans: Emails, texts, phone calls and social media

Bosqueville ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 739

Opening day: Aug. 18, both online and in person

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 14

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 75%

Typical class size, expected: 12 to 15

Planned safety precautions: Student movement will be restricted. Grades 4-12 and all staff are required to wear masks. All will have temperatures taken daily on arrival. All bus riders will wear masks, with one student per seat unless sitting with sibling from same home.

Notification plans: Parents will be notified per TEA guidelines. Positive cases will be reported per Waco-McLennan County Health District guidelines.

Bruceville-Eddy ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, K-12): 643

Opening day: Aug. 25 for all

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 14

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 70%

Typical class size, expected: 10 to 15 students

Planned safety precautions: Kindergarten, first and second grades will stay with their classrooms throughout the day, masks are required, daily screenings, staff will self-check temperature. Bus riders must wear masks and there will be weekly screenings, but students won't have their temperatures checked.  

Notification plans: Facebook and the school website

China Spring ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 2,929

Opening day: Aug. 19

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 7 (exceptions allowed)

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 75%

Typical class size, expected: 13 to 15 for most classes

Planned safety precautions: Elementary students will stay with their class all day. Masks required for fourth grade and up, and for teachers except when in a "teaching bubble" in front of the classroom. All ages of students must wear masks on buses, with assigned seats. Parents required to take children's temperatures daily. Daily classroom sanitation with fogger. Sneeze guards in classrooms and lunch tables. 

Connally ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 2,431

Opening day: Online instruction for all students begins Aug. 13, in-person begins Sept. 8

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 10

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 50%

Typical class size, expected: Could be up to 22, but depends on how many students opt for in-person instruction

Planned safety precautions: All classrooms will be sanitized before each new day. Lower grades will be kept in “pods” to limit exposure. Fourth grade and up will be required to wear masks. Bus riders will be assigned seats. Windows will be down, weather permitting. Buses will be sanitized between runs.

Notification plans: Staff and students deemed in close contact/exposed will be notified.

Crawford ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, K-12): 581

Opening day: Aug. 19

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: n/a

Expected % of in-person enrollment: n/a

Typical class size, expected: n/a

Planned safety precautions: Masks required for those over age 10, encouraged for others. Self-screening forms required for students, school day 15 minutes longer, dropoffs modified to ensure social distancing. Water fountains shut off, water bottles required.

Notification plans: n/a

Gholson ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 252

Opening day: Aug. 19

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 5

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 80%

Typical class size, expected: 15-18

Planned safety precautions: A rotating schedule of weekly temperature screenings, widely available hand sanitizer, masks, possible assigned seats on buses, sanitizing buses and gyms after each use, staggered lunches, physical distancing, classroom pods for younger grades. Parents are expected to check temperatures daily.

Notification plans: Email blast system and Remind system

Hallsburg ISD

Enrollment (2019, pre-K-12): 163

Opening day: Sept. 8

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Week of Sept. 1

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 66-80%

Typical class size, expected: 14

Planned safety precautions: Students stay in grade cohorts, masks required for adults and students in grades fourth through sixth, open windows and box fans in classroom when practical. Buses will have assigned seats and open windows, with masks required of older students.

Notification plans: Notify parents promptly by email of COVID-19 cases by grade level.

La Vega ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 3,148

Opening day: Aug. 13 for online classes until Sept. 8, when parents can choose whether they want their child to receive online or face-to-face instruction

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Parents will have from Aug. 25-Sept. 1 to decide whether students will attend face-to-face classes on Sept. 8. Parents have two weeks prior to each six weeks period to change the learning environment for their children.

Expected % of in-person enrollment: About 43% of parents/guardians want face-to-face instruction

Typical class size, expected: 10

Planned safety precautions: Pre-K-fifth grade students will be kept in "pods" throughout the day; students in other grades will change classrooms for certain programs like art, music and NJROTC, but the district continues to evaluate secondary instructional arrangements. Masks are required for students age 10 and older. No plans for testing students or staff on campus, but temperature checks will be taken as students and staff enter buildings. On buses, students must social distance and wear masks. The district will be implementing ventilation, sanitation, wearing of masks, social distancing, opening windows when possible and holding activities outside when possible.

Notification plans: Parents will be notified of a positive case using the district's call-out system and ensure all affected families and staff are aware of a positive case.

Lorena ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 1,752

Opening day: Aug. 17

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 7

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 80%

Typical class size, expected: n/a

Planned safety precautions: Face coverings for all students and staff. Once students arrive on campus in the mornings they will be directed to designated/predetermined areas. Students will not be allowed to congregate in groups, among others.

Notification plans: n/a

Mart ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 518

Opening day: Aug. 19

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 19

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 90%

Typical class size expected: 15

Planned safety precautions: Elementary schools will be in “pods." All students third grade and up must wear masks at all times with the same exceptions in place as the state face covering order. A "thermal mirror" will be used to take temperatures and record it into a database each day upon entry. Signs and markings to maintain social distancing, plexiglass shields for reception areas, hospital grade sanitation spray in every class room, among others.

Notification plans: Parents will be notified through the district school messenger system

McGregor ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 1,491

Opening day: Sept. 8 for online and in-person

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 21

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 75%

Typical class size expected: 17-20

Planned safety precautions: Masks for all bus riders; masks for all students at elementary, junior high, high school; masks encouraged for all at primary school that want to wear them. All staff required to wear face coverings. Temperatures will be checked before students enter all schools. Masks for all riders; temperature checks; social distancing as able; family members seated together; parents encouraged to bring their children to school if possible, among others.

Midway ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 8,375

Opening day: Aug. 24 for both remote and in-person instruction

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 7

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 60-70% (corrected)

Typical class size, expected: n/a

Planned safety precautions: Younger students will kept in "pods" throughout the day, but secondary students will not. Students in fourth grade and up must wear masks; younger students will wear masks when working closely in small groups. All students who ride the bus are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings. The district is considering contracting with companies for testing students and staff, but no plans have been put in place yet. Parents must screen students for symptoms before they arrive at school; staff must self-screen, too. The district will have rapid screeners in front offices for anyone else entering the campus and extra no-touch thermometers at every campus, if needed.

Notification plans: Positive cases will be reported online by campus and grade; families also will be notified directly.

Moody ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 694

Opening day: Aug. 18

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: n/a

Expected % of in-person enrollment: n/a

Typical class size, expected: n/a

Planned safety precautions: New bell schedule at Moody High School, masks required on buses, 6-foot distance in classrooms, water filling stations to replace water fountains, breakfasts served in classrooms, one-way hallway flow, outdoor eating tent at high school, masking for older students and staff.

Notification plans: n/a

Riesel ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 652

Opening day: Sept. 8 for online and in person

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 25

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 80%

Typical class size, expected: 15-18

Planned safety precautions: Masks required while moving through the building. Temperatures will be taken daily. Increased sanitation efforts. Modified schedules. Increased outside air flow. Bus riders will wear masks and windows will be open. Reduced capacity and hand sanitizer on buses.

Notification plans: Will notify parents through campus communication tool

Robinson ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 2,430

Opening day: Sept. 8

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 9

Expected % of in-person enrollment: n/a

Typical class size, expected: n/a

Planned safety precautions: Masks or face coverings required for adults and students in fourth grade and older, and for Pre-K through 3rd grade students in small group sessions. UIL extracurricular activities will follow UIL guidelines. No large on-campus assemblies. Frequent sanitization of campuses and buses. Only visitors for essential school operations allowed with screening for COVID-19 symptoms. Teachers will self-screen daily and stay off campus if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Students with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test will move to remote learning until they meet reentry criteria. Students who show symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus will be separated and parents asked to pick up within an hour.

Notification plans: District nurse will notify local health department of students with positive COVID-19 test. District nurse or campus health aide will notify teachers, staff and families in a school with a positive case.

Valley Mills ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 648

Opening day: Sept. 8

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Sept. 1

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 80%

Typical class size, expected: 15-20

Planned safety precautions: Elementary students will stay in classroom pods all day. Masks required for grades 4 and up, and for all ages on school buses. Random temperature checks in hallways and buses. Increased lunch periods, in-classroom breakfast for elementary students.

Waco ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 14,899

Opening day: Sept. 8 for both in-person and remote instruction

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 25

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 44%, based on 56% selecting remote instruction so far

Typical class size, expected: Unknown at this point because only 6,500 students have registered

Planned safety precautions: Most elementary students will be kept in "pods" all day; middle schools are considering "pods" as well, but that depends on how many student register for in-person instruction. All students and staff must wear masks, be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and have their temperatures checked upon arrival. Students must wear masks and social distance on buses; hand sanitizer will be provided on buses. All areas of campuses will be cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectant twice each day. Air conditioning systems were upgraded to increase air flow and higher level filtration. Each campus has isolation areas for students who have symptoms during the day.

Notification plans: All families and employees will be notified via email if an individual tests positive on their campus; a letter will be sent home with students. Communications will be in English and Spanish. Lab-confirmed cases will be publicly reported by campus.

West ISD

Enrollment (2019-20, pre-K-12): 1,340

Opening day: Sept. 8

Deadline for parent decision on learning format: Aug. 7

Expected % of in-person enrollment: 90%

Typical class size, expected: 15

Planned safety precautions: Facial coverings required for all staff members, students Grade 3 through 12 and visitors, and encouraged for Pre-K through Grade 2 students. No campus visitors who aren't essential to school operations. Daily temperature checks and health screening for all students, staff and visitors. Daily disinfection of high touch areas and objects. New transition plans for school arrival, departures and lunch periods. No student field trips or overnight trips. UIL guidelines for UIL extracurricular activities.

Notification plans: Notification of Waco-McLennan County Health District, West students, parents/guardians and staff when student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. Use of Skyward School Messenger and its text, email and phone call features with posting of alerts also on West ISD website. For suspected cases, all staff and students/parents with possible contact will be notified.

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