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    Message from the Superintendent of Schools

    Over the last five years, Ysleta ISD has made significant strides in addressing the needs of 21st-century learners. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our educational, economic, societal, and everyday way of life, and this has compelled our district to forge new, creative, and visionary ways of accomplishing our mission.

    We are facing an extraordinary challenge that requires our individual and collective expertise to address the wide-ranging needs of our students, families, educators, staff, and learning communities. We have given serious consideration to the “right” way to return to school and work – and, as evidenced by this plan, our educational leaders have taken concrete steps to restore, reconstruct, and redesign education.

    With the understanding that the health and safety of our students, educators, and staff is our top priority, this “Reset, Reimagine, and Respond: Reentry Plan for Fall 2020” signifies not only a progression toward the increased use of technology for 21st-century learning, but a reliable demonstration of our resiliency. We will overcome this challenge together. It is incumbent upon each of us to recognize and commit to providing the best education possible for our 40,000 students, regardless of the obstacles we may encounter on the way.



  • Reset, Reimagine, Respond

  • Reset. Reimagine. Respond.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State of Emergency declared by the Governor of Texas, Texas schools have been closed for in-person instruction since March 2020. Ysleta ISD quickly shifted to online learning to finish out the 2019-20 school year. We are exceedingly proud of our educators, staff, administrators, students, and their families for successfully handling these unprecedented times with poise, flexibility, and resilience.

    This document serves as Ysleta ISD’s plan for reopening schools in Fall 2020. It centers on providing an environment that is safe for students, educators, and staff, which allows us to continue moving forward in providing quality instruction. This plan is a “living document”; it was developed with the most recent data, and may be updated as new information becomes available.

    These are extraordinary times calling for extraordinary approaches, actions, pledges, and commitments. We understand the concerns of YISD students, parents, and staff. We also value the trust placed in us, and we believe that together, we will find a way to safely meet the needs of our students, families, and educators.

 

  • Local, State, and National Guidance

    From the onset of the pandemic, Ysleta ISD has sought to respond to information from a variety of local, state, and federal sources. The district has continually collaborated with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Office of the Governor, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), as well as the City of El Paso, El Paso County, and Region 19, to coordinate and plan our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Since the closure of schools, the Superintendent of Schools met multiple times each week with TEA, other area superintendents, and local government officials to identify concerns and share best practices. The Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees has actively participated in these meetings and listened to the concerns of constituents. Associate Superintendents, administrators, directors, and other leaders also met regularly to address how Ysleta ISD will open schools in the fall of 2020 in conjunction with counterparts and colleagues across the region and state. This broad stakeholder input has helped ensure multiple perspectives were considered.

    Because Ysleta ISD is a subdivision of the State of Texas, this plan has been formulated mostly with guidance from TEA. Should TEA provide further guidance that leads us to alter this plan, we will do so and provide an update.

    On May 21, 2020, TEA issued guidance that encouraged districts to consider adopting a year-round education program. Under a year-round program, school starts earlier in August and the summer break is somewhat shorter, which reduces summer learning loss for students. Built into this calendar are “intersessions,” or breaks, that can be used to provide extra attention and remediation for students who need to catch up on skills. After extensive stakeholder input and consideration, the Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees voted at a June 17 meeting to approve a year-round education program and an intersession calendar that called for school to begin Aug. 3.
     
    On July 7, 2020, TEA issued additional guidance, requiring school districts to offer families the option of face-to-face Classroom Learning for their children. This allowed for a limited three-week transition period from the scheduled school start date of Aug. 3, which meant the district would resume face-to-face instruction no later than Aug. 24. Before that could take place, however, the City of El Paso Public Health Department issued a July 9 emergency order that directed schools to remain closed for face-to-face instruction through Sept. 7.

    To comply with both orders and provide for the welfare of teachers and students under the authority of Policy EB, the Superintendent of Schools administratively changed the school start date to Aug. 17. In order to fulfill the State’s required number of instructional minutes, Oct. 5-9 was eliminated as an intersession week. This reduced the fall intersession to one week, from Oct. 12-16, and an additional week of instruction was added to the end of the school year, which pushed back the last day of school from June 4 to June 11, 2021.

    All students will undergo at least three weeks of Online Learning when our semester begins Aug. 17. For families that prefer face-to-face Classroom Learning for their child, Ysleta ISD will begin in-person, on-campus instruction no earlier than Sept. 8. At the discretion of the school board, this transition period may be extended for another four weeks subject to the provisions established by TEA. Revised 2020-21 school calendar

 

  • Ysleta Together

    Research supports a variety of approaches to reopen schools and resume instruction. Based on guidance from TEA and the particular characteristics and needs of the Ysleta ISD community, officials have taken an Ysleta Together approach – that is, allowing students to receive instruction in a way that safely picks up where they left off last spring while maintaining protocols and guidelines to protect the health of students, educators, and staff. The Ysleta Together approach allows parents to choose from two options for their child’s schooling, listed below.

    Option 1: Classroom Learning

    The Classroom Learning model calls for students in all grades to attend classes on campus for face-to-face instruction from Monday through Thursday, following the regular bell schedule. On Fridays, families are being given a “Flexible Friday” option, which allows them to choose to either have their student participate in Online Learning at home on this day, or send their student to campus for face-to-face Classroom Learning. This should give educators and staff additional time for planning and preparation, while campuses are thoroughly disinfected. Attendance and engagement on Flexible Fridays is required for every student, whether parents opt for Online Learning at home or Classroom Learning at the campus.

    Option 2: Online Learning

    The Online Learning model calls for students to receive 100% online instruction at home from Monday through Friday using THEDISTRICT@Home platform. For a detailed explanation of the district’s Online Learning model, please click here.

    Parents will be asked to commit to either Online Learning or Classroom Learning for at least one 9-week grading period. Due to the fact that both Option 1 and Option 2 may call for some or all instruction to take place online, Ysleta ISD will provide all students with a district-issued digital device, as well as hotspot devices for those families whose homes lack Internet access.

    The balance of this plan addresses the conditions and procedures that apply primarily to how students, teachers, and staff will physically return to on-campus instruction and operations for Classroom Learning.

 

  • Classroom Learning: Health Response Stages

    Because providing on-campus, in-person Classroom Learning requires students and staff to gather together in one space, Ysleta ISD must constantly monitor Disease Activity Levels in the community for possible impact on schools. The district will rely on data from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), El Paso Public Health Department, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to determine the Disease Activity Level and the appropriate protective measures. The Health Response Stages below are based on recommendations of local and state health officials, and will be determined by Disease Activity Levels in the community. The district will also develop a process to alert students, parents, and staff when the Health Response Stage changes, either for an individual school or for the entire district. We will update these stages weekly, prior to the start of school, and they will be posted on the district and campus home pages.

    3 Disease Activity Levels: Green, Yellow, and Red

    The green stage allows the district/school to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. The green stage recommends that students, educators, and staff screen for symptoms, practice social distancing, take temperatures, increase health and hygiene measures by wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and engaging in frequent handwashing. It will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust strategies to mitigate community spread week-to-week. UIL-governed extracurricular activities must follow UIL guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    The yellow stage imposes health measures that include requiring students, educators, and staff in daily school operations to screen for symptoms, practice social distancing, take temperatures, increase health and hygiene practices by wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and engaging in frequent handwashing. UIL and extracurricular activities may be further restricted or suspended. The yellow stage requires additional vigilance in response to any new disease information or attendance changes.

    The red stage rescinds in-person Classroom Learning, and immediately moves the district/schools to Online Learning at home through THEDISTRICT@Home platform. The red stage is for the purpose of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through stay-home orders and closures of districts/schools, including suspension of in-person Classroom Learning.

    Calculating Disease Activity Indicators




    What Disease Activity Indicators Mean




    How Disease Activity Indicators Are Reported to Campuses




    Use of Face Coverings based on Disease Activity Levels




 

  • Health and Safety Plan

    The following information is based on a Disease Activity Level of YELLOW when face-to-face Classroom Learning is scheduled to begin Sept. 8.

    Recognizing that every school and facility is unique, and all plans for the upcoming year will reflect individual adaptations, Ysleta ISD has created a Health and Safety Plan to serve as a baseline directive for how each school will implement reopening for on-campus, in-person instruction. This plan will be tailored to the unique characteristics of each school. Implementation details and any significant deviations or special provisions for a school will be developed in consultation with the Associate Superintendent of Elementary, Middle, or High Schools, respectively, and the Associate Superintendent of Student Support Services, and then approved by the district’s Chief Financial and Operational Officer. Once approved, the Health and Safety Plan for a school will be posted on the school website prior to the reopening of school.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Subject to updated guidance from TEA, Ysleta ISD will provide PPE as described in this plan. Ysleta ISD will require face masks to be worn in accordance with Disease Activity Levels and Face Mask Protocol. The district will provide a face mask for every student and employee. Unless a medical accommodation has been granted which prevents the use of a mask, all students and staff members must wear masks. Students will not be allowed to use bandanas as a face covering. Desk dividers will be provided for every student’s desk.  Every teacher will be equipped with a face shield, contactless thermometer, and face mask. Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom, as well as in other meeting and common areas. Disinfecting solution will be available in every classroom for frequent disinfection. Bus drivers will each have their own contactless thermometer to ensure students who may have a temperature are not transported to school. Transportation supervisors will be dispatched to wait with students while the parent or guardian is contacted to pick up their student.

    Ongoing Health Monitoring and Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms

    Ysleta ISD will closely monitor overall student and staff attendance for any spike in absences. Parents are urged not to send students to school if they are sick or show signs of COVID-19, as listed in the symptoms below.

    COVID-19 Symptoms (as of July 20, 2020)

    Parents and staff are urged to closely monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms include:

    • Cough
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain or body aches
    • A measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0°F
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Sore throat
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Diarrhea
    • Headache
    • Fatigue
    • Congestion or runny nose

    Student Screening

    Updated
    7-31-2020
    Before a child leaves home at the start of each day, a parent should answer the self-screening questions for each child.

    1. Has the child recently begun experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms in a way that is not normal for them? (Check website for the current symptom list)
    2. Has the child had close contact in the past 14 days with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19? This would include someone living in the same household as the child or who regularly provides childcare.

    Updated
    7-31-2020
    By sending a child to school, the parent is attesting that the parent confidently answered "NO" to ALL of the COVID-19 screening questions for the child.

    Updated
    7-31-2020
    A child who is sick with a fever, sore throat, or other COVID-19 symptom must stay home from school, and the parent must report the absence to the attendance clerk. Any child found to have symptoms at school will be isolated; a parent or guardian will be notified to pick up their student within one hour.

    Before coming to school at the start of each day, students will be screened for symptoms and have their temperature taken. Students who use bus transportation will be screened for fever using a contactless thermometer before boarding the bus.

    Students who are driven to or walk to school will be screened for symptoms and fever using contactless thermometers before entering the building. In the event of inclement weather, screening will be moved inside to a gym or cafeteria, with sufficient space to maintain social distancing. Each campus will provide information on how and where students will be screened prior to entry. Screening protocols will be regularly reviewed to ensure use of the most up-to-date protocols issued by federal, state, and local public health officials. If a student is found to have a fever, the student will be isolated from others, and the student’s parent/guardian will be contacted for pick-up within one hour.    

    Students who arrive after the first bell must be screened at the campus’s front office before entering campus.

    A child who lives with or has close contact with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms and is presumed positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine at home as instructed by the school. Ysleta ISD follows the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, and considers “close contact” to mean contact within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer. Because of the high likelihood of a false negative test if a student or staff member is tested before the full incubation period for the virus, the required self-quarantine period is 14 days from the date of last exposure to a lab-confirmed case.

    Teacher and Staff Screening

    Teachers and staff must self-screen daily and stay home if sick. Teachers must keep appropriate distance from other staff and students. All teachers and staff will wear masks and/or a face shield while in class, while indoors, and while with another person outdoors, whenever social distancing is not possible. Occupancy of teacher lounges and workspaces will be limited.

    A staff member who lives with or has close contact with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms and is presumed positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine at home as instructed by the school. Ysleta ISD follows CDC guidance, and considers “close contact” to mean contact within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer. Because of the high likelihood of a false negative test if a student or staff member is tested before the full incubation period for the virus, the required self-quarantine period is 14 days from the date of last exposure to a lab-confirmed case.

    Positive Case Identified at a Campus or Facility

    If a student or staff member at a school is diagnosed with COVID-19, TEA requires the district to  send notice of this occurrence to every parent of a student at the campus, regardless of whether  close contact occurred. The diagnosed student or staff member will be required to stay at home until all the following criteria are met:

    1. Updated
      7-31-2020
      At least one day (24 hours) has passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications); AND
    2. The individual has improvement in symptoms (for example, cough or shortness breath have improved); AND
    3. At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.

    Apart from the diagnosed student, parents do not need to keep their own children at home unless they are separately contacted by school officials after contact tracing. Students may be temporarily moved out of their classroom pending thorough cleaning and disinfecting. Approved EPA Disinfectants will be used to defog and disinfect classrooms and other campus areas. Custodial staff will defog and disinfect classrooms, restrooms, indoor athletic areas, and cafeterias, as well as common areas in school buildings.

    The district will make every effort to avoid unplanned school closures. If a school must close temporarily for extensive quarantining or cleaning, school officials will determine on a case-by-case basis how the instructional minutes will be recovered in accordance with published TEA guidance.

    COVID-19 Testing for Staff Members and Students

    Testing for employees and students who are symptomatic will be available at no charge through the district’s testing facilities, in collaboration with the City of El Paso Public Health Department and City/County Office of Emergency Management. Referrals will be provided for testing if a staff member or student is identified as having close contact with a lab-confirmed case. To view the complete Health & Safety Plan click here.

 

  • Campus Operations

     

    Disinfection

    Approved EPA Disinfectants will be used to disinfect classrooms and other campus areas. Custodial staff will focus their efforts on disinfecting, restrooms, indoor athletic areas, cafeterias and other high-touch surfaces and common areas in school buildings. Teachers will be asked to assist students with disinfecting student desks as students depart at the end of the day or for their next class.

    Cafeteria and Food Service

    Elementary students will be served breakfast in the classroom, as they have in the past. No food sharing will be allowed. For lunch, students will either eat in their classrooms or the cafeteria, depending on the ability of the particular school to maintain adequate social distancing.

    At the secondary level, campuses will be closed for lunch, meaning students must remain on campus all day and may not leave campus during the lunch hour. For lunch, students will either eat in their classrooms or the cafeteria, depending on the ability of the particular school to maintain adequate social distancing.

    School breakfast and lunch meals will be individually pre-packaged meals with disposable utensils. Students may also bring their own lunch, but they will not have access to microwaves or other appliances for reheating.  No food sharing will be allowed. Outside food vendors and outside food deliveries will not be allowed. Rules for free and reduced lunch will apply.

    Common Areas

    Assemblies and meetings will be conducted virtually when possible. If meetings must be held in person, all social-distancing and face-covering protocols will be observed. School library occupancy will be limited. Visual reminders will be added, and furniture will be rearranged to help students maintain social distancing while in the library. Students and staff will wash/sanitize hands upon entering and after visiting the library. High-touch surfaces (tabletops, chairs, door handles) will be disinfected regularly.

    During passing periods, hallways will be managed to minimize student exposure. Staff and signage will be posted to reinforce social-distancing expectations. A school may stagger releases from each class to limit the number of students in the hallway during transitions. Students and staff will be required to wear masks while in hallways and other common areas. Classroom doors will remain open to allow for no-touch entry and exit between classes.

    Parents and Visitors

    Parents will not be able to visit schools as they have in the past. Visits to schools will be limited, and visitors should have scheduled appointments. Parents with official business will be restricted to office areas and screened before entry. During drop-off and pick-up, or while physically waiting outside (not inside vehicles), parents must practice social distancing and wear masks while on school grounds.

    Restrooms

    Generally, to minimize exposure, students will be allowed to use the restroom during scheduled times or class periods, rather than passing periods. The number of occupants will be limited to allow for social distancing, and bathrooms will be monitored by campus staff. Students must wash hands before leaving the restroom and then use hand sanitizer upon entering the classroom. Increased restroom disinfection will occur throughout the school day.

    Safety Drills

    Safety drills will continue to be conducted in accordance with state law. Social distancing will be maintained to the extent possible while still complying with the requirements of the drill. Students and staff will be required to wear face masks.

    Transportation

    Bus transportation will be provided to and from school based on current eligibility rules. All bus drivers will be provided with PPE that includes masks, hand sanitizer, a touchless thermometer, and disinfectant. The district will issue procedures that include taking a temperature check before allowing a child on the bus, requiring all children to wear a mask while on the bus, and seats being marked off with tape to avoid children sitting too close to each other. Except for children from the same household, children will be seated one per row on alternating sides of the bus. Rosters will be kept of every student transported so that contact tracing can be performed if needed.

    Water Fountains

    Water fountains will be covered and unavailable for student use; therefore, students are encouraged to bring personal, refillable water bottles for use during the day. Refill stations will be available for students to refill their water bottles.

 

  • Classroom Operations

    Classroom setup and operations will follow TEA guidelines. Signage will be posted in all facilities to reinforce protocols and best practices for prevention.

    In accordance with the Protocols for Face Coverings, students will be required to wear masks. An exception will be granted when students are in their assigned seats, behind desk dividers, and social distancing is being observed. All students will socially distance and wear masks in hallways, restrooms, other common areas, and upon entering or leaving the school. The district will provide one face mask for each student.

    Updated
    7-25-2020
    Student social distancing requirements within the classroom will consider the grade level and include the appropriate classroom configuration for all age levels. Desks will be set up to maximize social distancing.

    Updated
    7-25-2020
    For Pre-K through grade 2, social distancing will be incorporated in the students’ daily rituals and routines enabling the students to effectively learn the practice of social distancing. Additionally, the district will make every effort to ensure the configuration of the classrooms promotes social distancing for this age group. Elementary classes will not be allowed to mix or be grouped together with other classes. For higher elementary grades, middle and high school, students will be expected to socially distance from each other and from staff.

    Multiple locations of hand sanitizer, tissues, and trash cans will be available to limit student and staff movement. When possible, the use of communal supplies will be eliminated. Shared supplies will be sanitized between use. Blankets, pillows, rugs, and other shared non-essential items will be removed from the classroom. Students will use their own district-issued technology and minimize the sharing of electronic devices. In-person group or collaborative work will be avoided.  When group work is needed, technology will be used for collaboration. If in-person group or paired work is required, such as in science labs, students will be required to wear a mask.

    Career and Technical Education Classes

    Approved EPA Disinfectants will be used to disinfect classrooms and other campus areas. Custodial staff will focus their efforts on disinfecting, restrooms, indoor athletic areas, cafeterias and other high-touch surfaces and common areas in school buildings. Teachers will be asked to assist students with disinfecting student desks as students depart at the end of the day or for their next class. For more information on the Career and Technical Education Plan click here.

    Dual Credit and Early College High School Classes

    Classes for students enrolled in an Early College High School that normally takes place in-person at an El Paso Community College Campus (EPCC) will follow EPCC procedures for the delivery of instructional content, including content delivered via online instruction. Other dual credit courses, such as OnRamps, will follow the established procedures of the higher education institution. If any on-campus instruction is required by the higher education institution, such instruction will be offered subject to Ysleta ISD’s Health and Safety Plan.

    Extracurricular, Co-Curricular, and UIL Activities

    The extent to which a school will be able to offer extracurricular, co-curricular, and UIL activities will depend on many factors related to the risk of disease spread, including whether students can perform the activity indoors or outdoors while maintaining social distance. Any UIL-regulated activity must also comply with UIL directives. Students will need to check their school website for the most current information. Student clubs generally will not be allowed to meet in person without staff supervision. For more information on the Athletics Plan click here.

    Fine Arts Classes

    All Fine Arts classes will be offered for both Classroom Learning and Online Learning, though modifications in instruction and practice/rehearsal will be necessary based on the class structure or art medium. All Ysleta ISD health protocols – to include social distancing and use of masks – will be enforced to the extent practicable for the activity.

    For online instruction, the district has purchased smartmusic©, a web-based music educational resource and practice tool, for all music students in grades 5-12. A limited supply of musical instruments is available to rent from the district, though accessories such as reeds, valve oil, straps, guitar footrests, etc. are the responsibility of the student/parent.

    The district is following all national, state, local, and CDC guidelines/recommendations regarding group performances; therefore, no musical performances are being scheduled for the fall. With music, dance, theater, and other similar performances being canceled for the fall, performance attire/equipment should not be purchased. If health conditions improve and performances can be scheduled in the spring, all impacted students will be notified.

    School districts in El Paso County will not participate in competitive marching band. Many, if not most, districts across the state have adopted a similar approach to this year’s marching season.  If UIL decides to host a competitive marching season in the spring, and if it is safe for students and staff to participate, the district will reassess at that time.

    A cost-effective list of supplies for online art classes will be provided to students by their teacher at the beginning of school. Art teachers will provide lessons enabling students to create artwork utilizing minimal supplies and commonly found household items.

    Physical Education (P.E.) and Health Classes

    P.E. and health classes will follow the Ysleta ISD Protocols for Physical Education and Health. Whenever possible, P.E. classes will be held outside to allow for maximum physical distance between students. Any activities bringing students into close physical contact or requiring multiple students to touch or handle the same equipment will be avoided. Visual markers will be used to remind students of social distancing rules. Students will not be required to change into workout clothes, and the use of locker rooms will not be permitted. Equipment will be disinfected after each use. Sanitizing areas and access to handwashing will be provided. For more information on the Physical Education Plan click here.

    Special Education Classrooms

    Recommended procedures will be applied to all classroom settings, including Special Education service locations, when possible and appropriate. Students’ individual needs will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Special Education classrooms and service locations may have additional protective barriers in place to support a safe environment for students. For more information on the Special Education Plan click here.

Reset, Reimagine, Respond

  • Student and Staff Health

  • Classroom and Campus Safety

  • Social Distancing

  • Face-to-Face/On-Campus Instruction

  • THEDISTRICT@Home Online Learning

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