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School returns remotely Aug. 24

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Elgin ISD students will begin classes—albeit virtually—on August 24, with a return to campus scheduled for September 21.

During the most recent regular school board meeting on Monday, July 20, Elgin ISD Superintendent Jodi Duron shared an overview of the school district’s 23-page “Return to Learn” plan, which details the preparations and protocols for returning to school in the fall. The next day, the entire plan was available on the Elgin ISD website.

After Bastrop and Travis counties have both issued orders prohibiting in-person instruction for a while at the beginning of the semester, Elgin ISD released a letter to parents on Friday with further updates.

Elgin ISD is delaying its start date by one week, with the first day of school on August 24. According to Friday’s letter, this extra week will give teachers and staff enough time to train for new safety protocols and prepare for online learning. The last day of school will be June 3, 2021, with graduation on June 4. October 13 will be eliminated as a holiday this year.

The school year will begin with all students learning remotely for the first four weeks of school. Students whose families have chosen in-person instruction will return to campus on September 21, unless local conditions require an extended closure.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires schools to offer in-person instruction and allows them to offer 100% remote learning as well; recently, TEA has allowed high schools to replace full-time in-person instruction with a hybrid model.

Elgin ISD will utilize asynchronous learning, which is self-paced instruction with consistent teacher interaction, through Google Classroom.

The Return to Learn plan also details the various protocols that the school district will take in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and deal with a potential outbreak.

All students will receive instruction on hygiene practices and mitigation strategies during the first week of school. Each classroom, restroom and high-touch area will be disinfected routinely throughout the day. Parents are expected to screen their students for symptoms of COVID-19 each day before sending them to school, and staff will be required to selfscreen.

Students, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings. All campus visits must be approved by campus leadership and have an educational purpose.

“For now, we will continue our planning based on what we know today, and we will navigate any additional changes with grace, transparency and resiliency,” Friday’s letter says. “Above all else, we are excited to return to school and reconnect with our students, staff and families.”