Midway ISD releases tentative plans for upcoming school year

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 6:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2020 at 9:37 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Midway ISD, one of the largest school districts in Central Texas, has released tentative plans for the upcoming, unprecedented school year amid COVID-19.

"We're going to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of our students while educating our children with the excellence that, of course, is expected of Midway ISD," said George Kazanas, Superintendent of the Midway Independent School District.

COVID-19 and its resulting rules, mandates, orders, bans, etc., has left school districts across Texas scrambling to make educational plans with the first day of school fast approaching.

Midway ISD is working on balancing learning and safety as the conditions they continue to encounter during the pandemic evolve, creating lots of 'unknowns'.

In a video message emailed to the Midway ISD community Thursday, Kazanas talked about what's being considered for the 2020-2021 school year.

While he gives parents some idea of what to expect come August, Kazanas says there's many "what ifs" but one thing is certain: when parents go to register students in mid-July, they'll be able to make the decision for their kids to be schooled in-person on campus, or online at home.

"At this point, we know that we will be providing though both in-person classroom instruction as well as an option for parents and students to have at-home based learning.

Since the virus has caused delays in getting instructions and requirements from the state, MISD's "Safe Start Task Force" is having to predict and prepare for multiple scenarios, especially for traditional in-school learning.

"They're looking at such things as hand-washing, the use or not use of face masks, they're talking about how many students that we may have in one setting and one area, and also the public when we're talking about special events," said Kazanas.

Measures being considered for in-school learning include: weekly health screenings, daily temperature checks, reduction in student movement in buildings, physical distancing in classrooms, one-way hallways, lunch in alternative locations, voluntary use of face shields/masks for both students and staff, limited sharing of school supplies and equipment, staggered arrival and release times, limited gathering and events and reduced capacity on buses.

As for at-home schooling, all learning will be performed online by MISD teachers and will include daily assignments and attendance checks.

In the virtual school model, students enrolled in a virtual campus will receive online instruction which may include various forms of online and digital learning, video lessons or app-based learning tasks for students to complete on their own.

Both options will have the same grading standards and requirements.

In addition to Instructional Delivery, the SSTF is creating plans for the district--with COVID-19 in mind-- in the areas of Health/Safety and Events, Human Resources, and Operations.

MISD officials say those plans are based on guidance from the state and other medical and school authorities in addition to community input through a survey with more than 2,500 participants.

Because of the unique circumstances they're facing, the Superintendent is asking for patience as their plans must be fluid and flexible.

"We also must be able to pivot, and that means pivoting, being able to move on a dime, change on a dime, because of conditions that are out of our control," said Kazanas.

Along with academics, MISD officials say they can’t make decisions about student participation in athletics or fine arts until they receive guidance from the state.

MISD officials hope to finalize reopening plans before student registration opens July 15.

What you need to know about the new coronavirus and its impact on Central Texas.

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