Calendar Changes Provide More Breaks For Staff/Students
(RED OAK, TX) — Red Oak ISD amended the 2020-21 school calendar with minor changes based on several factors along with balancing student and staff needs. The handful of dates will provide for more staff planning time to best educate our students for the remainder of the year while reducing exposure.
“In essence, we want to continue to provide the highest level of teaching and learning in the safest environment,” stated Superintendent Brenda Sanford. “Daily, we review and assess both student learning levels and the current COVID-19 situation in the district and county. We made minor changes that will provide much-needed breaks for staff and students and reduce exposure by eliminating early release days and increasing staff development days, while still maintaining the integrity of staff workdays and student minutes of instruction.”
Ellis County School Closure Threshold is 10%
The decision was also made following the Texas Education Agency announcement of 10-14 days of closure allowed should an ISD need to close a campus for a massive outbreak. Previously only five (5) days would be funded by the state for a COVID-19 related closure. The Ellis County threshold has been set at ten percent (10%) of a group, team, class, grade, school, or ISD. As of Tuesday, December 1, 2020, ROISD listed 26 active cases across the district, a mere .38% of all students and staff. The district does not foresee any possible closures at this time.
The decision was also impacted by the district’s ability to go virtual concerning devices. Last summer, the Board authorized the purchase of additional devices that have been on backorder and are now expected in late December. TEA also ordered devices for all districts and those should arrive in January.
Finally, the increase in the number of staff development days will allow for much needed professional development and planning for staff, as well as disinfecting days, if needed. Staff can collaborate and plan for student interventions, focus on lesson development, meet virtually with staff from across the district or participate in training from across the regional, state, and nation to hone their craft. This modified calendar still exceeds the state-required student minutes of instruction.
These changes were brought about after discussion by staff and vetting of the Red Oak Community Advisory Council by email. The council is comprised of parents, business leaders, district staff, and community members. The vast majority support the changes and the rationale behind the decision.
“We know these slight adjustments to the calendar may impact some families’ travel plans, and for that, we apologize in advance,” said Sanford. “We are notifying families as soon as possible so they can make adjustments as well. This decision was not taken lightly and we hope you know we did our best to balance all concerns involved.”
The Board will approve the amended calendar at the December 14 Board Meeting. Updated calendars have been sent by email to all staff and families. It’s also posted on the district and campus websites and on social media.