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Back to school? The options SA area districts are offering for the upcoming school year

Some districts are planning to offer a distance learning or hybrid learning option for families who are not comfortable with their children returning to school.

SAN ANTONIO — Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered that school districts can be open for in-classroom instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. Many districts around the state are making plans for social distancing, staging start times and adjusting the calendars to accommodate possible coronavirus outbreaks. 

The TEA has also recommended that districts offer some type of distance learning options for parents who are not comfortable with sending their children back to school. Some districts have already decided to also offer combination learning situations which are a hybrid of in-person and distance learning.

We have pulled together a list of the major school districts in San Antonio and the status of each of their plans and options for the upcoming school year.

Boerne ISD (as of 7/30/20): The district sent a letter to parents on July 16 outlining the plan for the upcoming school year. The letter reads in part: "We are excited to safely start the 2020-21 school year on August 12th. With guidelines from the Governor, the Texas Education Agency, and other statewide and local entities, we have formed two options for families to select as required by the TEA: Traditional In-Person learning or the Boerne E-Learning Option."

Click here for the full letter and more details from Boerne ISD.

Comal ISD (as of 7/30/20): The district is offering both on-campus and remote learning options. The first day of school is Tuesday, August 25.

On July 27, Comal ISD released a 55-page document outlining how reopening its schools will work. This year, the district said in order to gain four extra surplus days and move to a three-tier transportation system, 10 minutes will be added to the school day.

Comal ISD said all students will use a variety of programs to be able to easily transition between on-campus and remote learning in the event of "a closure, illness or regulation."

Pre-K through 5th grade will use Seesaw Plus, grades 6-12 will use Google Classroom or ECHO and Dual Credit & Dual Enrollment students will use Canvas. All levels will use Google Meet for video conferencing.

Judson ISD (as of 7/30/20): This district plans to offer both in-person and digital instruction. The district released plans on July 7 with a breakdown of different options for elementary and secondary (high school and middle schools) education.

Elementary students will have a choice between in-person or distance learning. Secondary students will have a choice between in-person, distance learning or hybrid learning where the students go to school for two days a week and remote learning the rest of the week. A survey being sent to parents will ask families to select one of the learning options for meeting state attendance requirements.

The hybrid model allows children to attend classes in person and online every other day. A video on JISD's website explains the options. Click here for more details.

Northside ISD (as of 7/30/20): The district will start the year with virtual learning for all students on Monday, August 24. There will be no in-person instruction until at least Tuesday, Sept. 8, after Labor Day.

The school board and superintendent said there will be some changes to the distance learning model - such as students using Schoology, an online Learning Management System, which parents will also have access to. There will be additional sanitation and safety practices in the physical schools, including meal distribution as well.

"There are a lot of questions about what the reopening of schools will look like in August," they said, emphasizing the importance of safety and high-quality instruction. "We don’t have all the answers right now, but we are preparing for the new year in ways that will offer our families choices."

NISD said that if families choose to do distance learning and then want to change later, they will be allowed to at the end of the 9-week grading period.

During the week of August 17-21, families will be contacted regarding what Individual Education Plan (IEP) supports will look like for the duration of virtual learning.

To follow the latest developments, check the district's website.

RELATED: Northside ISD plans to offer both virtual and in-person instruction in the fall

North East ISD (7/30/20): On July 29, NEISD Superintendent Dr. Sean Maika responded to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's letter containing his interpretation of local health orders and directives in relation to school closures. Maika said, "As we have done since March, we will not make a knee jerk reaction but rather continue our focus on developing plans that are in the best interest of our students, employees and parents. Therefore, schools will remain virtual for the first three weeks of this year."

He went on to say a “one size fits all plan” will not work. The district's website has the latest plans posted - explaining how virtual learning will work. According to NEISD, teachers will record their lessons and post them to either Seesaw or Google Classroom.

There is also a distinction between synchronous and asynchronous instruction and the option for students to be able to attend virtually later in the afternoon if that works better for a family's schedule. The district said, "Synchronous instruction refers to live, scheduled, interactive classes with teachers and students in real-time, teacher-supported work time, and scheduled and timed, online tests."

NEISD said for attendance purposes, students will be required to turn in daily assignments. The latest update on July 21 details the plan, which the district said will change once the district resumes in-person learning.

San Antonio ISD (as of 7/30/20): The district announced it would offer in-person instruction and remote learning. The school year will begin on August 17 instead of August 10 - with the first three weeks of instruction being online-only. 

However, SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez made it clear that parents will have the ultimate choice of having their students learn in-person or virtually after Labor Day. To read more about the district's plans, click here.

A declaration window for parents to notify the district of their plans opened on July 21 and families are encouraged to respond by August 17 by filling out this form.

RELATED: SAISD superintendent reveals start of school plans

This is an ongoing situation, so check back to this article for updates.

Southwest ISD: The district says it has formed a School Re-entry Task Force to align with the recently-released TEA guidelines. The district posted on Facebook that it will be released more information as the task force makes it decisions. See more of the Facebook post below:

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