CYPRESS, Texas -- After canceling plans to launch a virtual school for the 2021-22 school year because state lawmakers did not approve funding for such programming by the end of the 87th Texas Legislature, Cy-Fair ISD officials announced Aug. 9 there will be a temporary virtual learning option at the start of the school year.
Kindergarten through sixth grade students will have the option to partake in virtual learning via Schoology at least through the first grading period of the year. The program will be extended until a vaccine is authorized for children younger than age 12, officials said.
Teachers will provide either virtual or in-person instruction rather than offering both simultaneously as most teachers did last school year. Students who choose this option will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities on campuses.
Applications opened at 6 p.m. on Monday and will close at 8 a.m. on Aug. 12.
Additional guidance released in the district's LEAD Safely 2021-22 plan includes self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms daily before entering district vehicles or facilities. Students and staff members who are in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 "should consider quarantining" unless they are fully vaccinated, the plan states.
Gov. Greg Abbott has prohibited schools from mandating masks, and therefore they will be optional in CFISD. Officials said parents of pre-K through fifth grade students can ask campus administration to place their child with other masked students in classrooms and common areas when feasible.
District officials said they encourage COVID-19 vaccinations for those who are eligible and will continue to offer vaccination opportunities.
Campuses will develop their own systems for social distancing when feasible, and high-touch surfaces will regularly be disinfected. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available in classrooms, school buses, and at building and cafeteria entrances.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases at the elementary level will be reported to parents, and all case counts will be posted to the district's dashboard. Harris County Public Health and the Texas Education Agency will also be notified of confirmed cases on campuses.
"Medical experts from hospitals in our community have all shared with us that the keys for a successful start to the 2021-2022 school year will be vaccines, staying home when sick, wearing masks, and good hand hygiene," Superintendent Mark Henry said in a statement. "We look forward to opening our doors and safely welcoming every student back to classrooms on Monday, Aug. 23."
See the full LEAD Safely 2021-22 plan and additional information about the temporary virtual learning option on CFISD's website.
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