On Thursday, Socorro ISD school officials released their schedule and plans for returning their students to the classroom for the 2020-2021 school year.
Via a public letter, SISD Superintendent José Espinoza released the details and the process by which the district and its stakeholders came up with the new guidelines. To view the schedule, click here.
Dr. Espinoza’s complete letter is below.
Dear Team SISD,
I am incredibly thankful for the awesome people in our school community – teachers, essential workers, parents, administrators, support staff, Board of Trustees, and community members – who have gone above and beyond to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
As we move forward in planning for the 2020-2021 school year, I’d like to thank the thousands of parents and employees who have provided their valuable feedback via our district surveys and focus group sessions. Your input is greatly appreciated as it helps us identify the concerns and topics that are important to you and how we can address those needs.
Rest assured that we have been working nonstop to consider every safety measure, teaching model, and scenario that will impact our students, families, and staff members. We have been conducting research, analyzing the vital insights from the surveys, and continuing to closely follow and adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Texas Education Agency (TEA), and our local government and health officials.
We also have worked proactively to order much needed and valuable personal protection equipment and supplies to adequately prepare our schools and facilities and have face masks, soap/sanitizing solution, paper towels, and other necessary items to provide for students and employees.
At this time, we have two important announcements to make regarding our framework for reopening schools in the fall.
The first announcement is that our school calendar for the 2020-2021 school year has been revised to have students begin instruction on July 27, 2020. Our new calendar includes additional flexibility that will allow us to close the district or particular schools due to positive COVID-19 cases or another widespread outbreak as necessary. You can view our new calendar on our district website (www.sisd.net).
Our second announcement is that we will begin the new school year with three weeks of full-time remote learning in which teachers will be in their classrooms providing instruction via an online platform to students who are at home.
We remain committed to providing the rigorous education that all our students need and deserve. All of these decisions are challenging to make, because there are so many individuals who have unique circumstances that we have to take into consideration.
However, after extensive collaboration with our Team SISD stakeholders as well as taking into consideration the recommendations from the CDC, TEA, and local health/government officials, I am confident that this is the right direction for our district.
After the first three weeks and, again, still following CDC/TEA guidelines, we will move towards a staggered schedule and teaching model that will allow 25 percent of students to go to school in their classrooms. Then, we will progress to 50 percent and so forth until we have clearance to have 100 percent of students back in school on a daily schedule.
Understandably, many of you may have many questions right now. I want to stress that we will update you as soon as we have information on our next phase of planning that includes how to specifically transition our students from remote learning to learning at school.
We will again have to collect extensive qualitative and quantitative data from our parents and employees, so we still have a lot of work to do. What I want to stress right now is that we will be flexible in our reopening plans to accommodate all of the unique circumstances of many of our families and employees.
As with all COVID-19 plans, it is important to note that details may be subject to change pending the state of our local community health as we approach the first day of school.
Let me be very clear.
We are committed to supporting our students, parents, and employees throughout what will be another challenging school year. We will be working with our families to help them adapt and adjust to the new routines.
We will also provide our staff members extra support and resources, so they are able to continue providing excellent instruction and customer service across our district.
I want to reiterate that we are leading with our hearts and our students’ best interest in mind.
We ask for your patience as our team continues to work through the many issues that must be addressed. Rest assured that we will update you and communicate with you often as information becomes available.
I know that by working as a united team, we can get this new school year done right! I urge all our stakeholders to continue to check our website (FAQ section) as well as our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts frequently for updates and answers to questions you may have.
Thank you all for exhibiting our Team SISD spirit of love and unity and for being patient, understanding, cooperative, and flexible as we navigate a new school year in an unknown future.
Our campus principals and staff will continue to be available to answer any questions or concerns our employees or parents may have. I look forward to being back together with our outstanding students and staff hopefully in the near future.
Stay safe and healthy. God bless all of our families!
José Espinoza, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools