Seguin ISD said a delayed start to the new school year is possible, but not set in stone yet.

In a virtual townhall meeting on Wednesday night, Seguin ISD Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez explained the district’s plans for moving forward with the 2020-2021 school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While some districts have announced a delayed start — some as late as Sept. 8 — Seguin ISD hasn’t made that determination, just yet, Gutierrez said.

In surveying the district staff, 80% of the 700 employees that responded said they supported pushing back the start date.

The district is looking to the community and parents for feedback through a virtual survey at bit.ly/3h2ZywL .

In May, Gutierrez created a Reopening Taskforce to devise a plan to ensure learning continued whether in person or remotely.

The group focused on seven different objectives — school operations, personnel, meals, transportation, academics, whole child support and distance learning.

Their guidance was based off feed back from parents that completed the survey, in which 50% said they felt uncomfortable with sending their children to school, while 50% said they felt comfortable returning to campus. However, Gutierrez said that was before the recent increase in cases and those numbers have probably changed.

With those initial results in mind, the task force came up with guidance for the district to move forward with reopening the campuses.

Parents will have the option of choosing whether their students return to campus or learn remotely. All teachers will prepare for a blended learning — face to face in the classroom and online — to prepare for potential complete closures.

“There are considerations for vulnerable populations,” Gutierrez said. “We are considering the possibility of staff working from home because we do have staff members who are vulnerable over 60 years old, have pre-exciting medical conditions, caring for a child who has pre-existing medical conditions. We will look at those on a case-by-case basis.”

Teachers will either teach face-to-face, virtually from campus for the students at home, remotely from home or a mix of face-to-face and virtually, Gutierrez said.

As it stands, students will have the ability to participate in extracurricular activities such as band and sports. That is subject to change per the UIL’s guidance.

In an effort to keep students, faculty and staff safe and healthy, the district will follow social distancing guidelines, screen students and masks will be required inside and at times when student cannot socially distance, with some exceptions.

Meals at the elementary campuses will remain with breakfast in the classroom and lunches in the cafeteria, with the caveat that lunch may be served in the classroom at times.

At the secondary campuses, it’s a little easier to spread students out in the cafeterias, expanding into the library and some classrooms, Gutierrez said.

Child nutrition will still offer curbside breakfast and lunches for the students who are learning remotely.

The district will continue to bus students with safety procedures in place, including the use of hand sanitizer, faces masks and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

Gutierrez plans to continue hosting townhall meetings weekly at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays to keep the community up to date with what’s happening or changing at the district.

To watch the full meeting, visit bit.ly/3hbTQsu .

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com .

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