SAN ANTONIO — Students in San Antonio ISD will return to the virtual classroom Monday.
District leaders said they are following Metro Health’s guidelines for a safe return to campus.
“We are in 100 percent alignment with Metro Health,” said SAISD Superintendent, Pedro Martinez.
The district recently released a tiered safety plan to students to return to campus.
The plan is colored coded, similar to the guidance recently released by Metro Health.
The district will begin the year in the Red Level One zone, with 100 percent of students learning from home.
Different from Metro Health’s directive, SAISD has added a Blue Level 5 Normal Safety Level which indicates schools can be fully open with 100 percent of students returning to campus.
“Our plan is to start remote, which is a red color, eventually working up until after Labor Day to allow parents who want to send their children in person,” said Martinez. “We do have about a quarter, 25 percent of our families who want to do that.”
Martinez said even though the first few weeks will be online, schools are preparing now for students to safely return.
“We're in the process of setting up every single classroom. So, during the first three weeks of school, we'll be able to show families, even if it's through zoom, we'll give them tours of our buildings and our classrooms where they can see desks are being marked off. We have stickers to show, social distancing,” said Martinez.
In addition to the state funded PPE handed out to districts across Texas, Martinez said they’ve also ordered thousands of face shields for the younger students.
“We have these really cute face shields for every Pre-K to the Second Grader. We order 16,000 of them because we know for younger children, we're worried about them being able to keep their masks on,” said Martinez.
Although a small percentage of families want to send their children back to campus, Martinez said safety is the utmost priority.
“I ask our families be patient with us, we're going to be watching the health data, and as a superintendent, I have to be very honest with our families when I feel it's too dangerous,” said Martinez. “The last thing I want to do is to set up our schools in such a way where we have to close them down because of significant outbreaks. Our families don't want that either.”
Martinez said even though it’s still uncertain when students will be able to return to campus, one thing hasn’t changed.
“My teachers miss their children. They can't wait to start teaching them,” said Martinez. “First, virtually eventually then in-person, because our teachers have an amazing heart and they love our community. They love our students.”