Schools Focus on Remote Teaching During Coronavirus Closures

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remote teaching
Photo by Kristin Barclay

With the uncertainty of when schools will resume on campus, some have gone to remote learning for students, while others are in the process of developing a plan.

“Although we are not physically in school and district buildings, Duncanville ISD employees will continue to provide support for students,” Duncanville ISD Superintendent Marc Smith wrote in a statement on the district’s web site.

Like many, the Duncanville ISD is closed indefinitely.

“This decision was not made lightly and follows advice from Dallas County Health and Human Services department,” Smith also wrote. “Our priority is to make sure we take care of the health and safety of our students, staff, community and all stakeholders as we deal with this unprecedented crisis.”

Among those who have already worked out details of remote learning is the Cedar Hill School District, which is calling it “Flex Learning.”

Cedar Hill using Flex Learning

Flex Learning refers to a school day or period of time where teachers and students communicate online or set up prior learning expectations, and the students continue their learning from home. Staff will share assignments to provide continued learning at home while the school is closed.

Families of CHISD students will receive an automated phone call notifying them of their impending Flex Learning Time.

There are two ways students can access learning plans:

*Teachers may email lessons and work through their instructional technology platform. (i.e. Google Classroom Seesaw etc.)

*Lessons can be accessed via chisd.net/flexlearning.

As is the case in several districts, accommodations will be made for students with special needs and for students who do not have access to the internet. For students without internet access, some companies are offering free internet service.

Also, for students with limited internet and device access, there are “offline” learning opportunities, with Cedar Hill being one of the districts offering such. In this, parents may print the choice boards or learning matrix and sign-off that students have completed the activities. Students will then turn in the learning log upon returning to school.

Also, Cedar Hill teachers will be available to answer questions from parents and students Monday through Friday from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

Mansfield working out distance learning

Mansfield ISD is in the process of implementing what it calls “distance learning.” The logistics are currently being worked out with principals and teachers. Parents and guardians should soon receive correspondence about lessons and other resources, school district officials said.

“These are uncharted waters we are in, for sure,” Mansfield ISD Superintendent Kimberly Cantu said. “Things are ever changing very, very quickly.

“It’s really important for us to keep students engaged while they are at home and not here in the buildings. Right now, campus principals are working very, very hard with the teachers, who are working very hard, along with our instructional staff as well to sort of develop a format for online learning for students so they can continue to stay engaged and continue to learn and grow.”

Cantu also stressed the significance of Gov. Greg Abbott announcing Monday that he has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

“We are really pleased with that announcement,” Cantu said. “It’s going to allow us to focus on what we need to focus on, the health and well-being of our students.”

Mansfield ISD board member Raul Gonzalez wants to get all the students connected.

“Finding solutions for those students who do not have access to Wi-fi is the most pressing concern at the moment,” Gonzalez said. “Superintendent Cantu is in contact with TEA daily and is giving updates as this fluid situation warrants.”

For more information about your school district, visit their website.

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