The Midway Independent School District will delay the start of school by a week to allow more time for staff training on virtual instruction, pushing back the first day of school to Aug. 24.
All students, whether they have chosen in-person or remote instruction, will resume Midway ISD classes Aug. 24, after the board of trustees unanimously voted Friday morning to adopt the revised school calendar. The school year will end May 27, and all holiday breaks remain the same.
Additionally, all Midway ISD teachers will have to report to their campuses every day, even if they are teaching virtually, Superintendent George Kazanas said.
McLennan County health officials have pushed for districts to postpone reopening their school facilities to students and teachers until after Labor Day because of a surge in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the county. Waco-McLennan County Health Authority Dr. Farley Verner issued an order July 21 that would have required schools to delay in-person instruction and other on-campus activities until Sept. 8, but Verner rescinded the order after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion letter stating health authorities do not have the power to issue “blanket closure” of schools.
Texas officials clarified Friday that health authorities can shut down schools if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs, and schools will still receive state funding as long as they provide remote instruction during the school closure, according to a press release from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.
School boards also can close a campus for up to five days if someone on a school campus tests positive for COVID-19, giving the school time to disinfect the campus. The schools would continue to receive state funding as long as they provide remote instruction.
Midway Board President Pete Rusek said many people and organizations have encouraged the school board to make the “right decision” when it comes to reopening schools.
“I wish it were as simple as having a right and wrong answer,” Rusek said. “It’s a very, very complex issue. I am confident that this board will do what our staff has been doing all along, and that is trying to move forward in a manner that represents the best interest of the students and our parents and our community.”
Board member Pam Watts said she is grateful for the administration’s work to get this plan in place, while dealing with ever-changing information and guidelines from the state.
“It’s been like trying to pilot an ocean liner with the turn radius of a jetski,” she said.
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