HENDERSON, Texas (KETK) – There has been growing concern over how exactly students can continue learning without risking the spread of COVID-19. Henderson ISD sent parents back to school plans in preparation for the upcoming academic year, aiming to keep both students and faculty safe.
The district’s Director of Communications, David Chenault, said their number one goal is to get students back to their natural learning environment with efforts to prioritize student’s health and safety. Their first day of school starts Wednesday, August 5.
Earlier in the summer, the Texas Education Agency approved this year’s curriculum to be offered both in-person and virtually.
To help make virtual classes as interactive as possible, lessons in the classroom will be recorded and published online. The school will be using an advanced system called Canvas, an online learning platform.
In an effort to be proactive, if a child feels ill, they can still access the online learning platform from home.
We will have the same exact curriculum because we don’t want to leave any kid behind. We want to make sure every kid is not too far behind and we want to catch them and make sure they’re at the same place all the way through, whether they’re at home or they’re on campus.David Chenault, Director of Communications
As of now, Chenault said he expects around 20 to 25% of Henderson students to register for online learning.
“The remaining 80 to 85% are saying they want to be back in the classroom, so we’re looking forward to having a lot of our kids in our classroom, but certainly that option is there and we’ll see how the numbers continue to roll in,” said Chenault.
Faculty and student safety remains a top concern. Just last week, three new cases of employees tested positive for COVID-19, but their identities were concealed due to HIPAA restrictions.
To remain transparent, the district immediately published a press release, notifying the public. Chenault said he and administrators have been working alongside nurses as they prepare isolation centers at their schools for students and employees in case they catch the virus.
Transportation is also a main concern for parents. Chenault said they will try to evenly space out children on buses and only family members will be allowed to sit together. Face masks will also be required and the district has enforced a strict sanitation schedule to keep the busses clean.
Inside the classroom, desks will be evenly spaced out, at least six feet apart. Henderson schools will also offer physical guides to help enforce social distancing.