SB CISD releases return-to-school plan, purchases hotspots

SAN BENITO — Although the coronavirus pandemic continues to remain active and the start of in-person instruction is left up in the air, school districts are continuing to make preparations for the upcoming school year.

In a meeting held on Monday, school board members approved the purchase of 1,600 hotspots for students.

The full cost for the devices is $384,000.

“We believe this will put us very close to providing each of our households who do not have internet, with internet access for the school year,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nate Carman said.

On Tuesday, school district officials released a return-to-school plan in response to COVID-19.

The timeline includes transitioning phases from remote instruction to face-to-face instruction when deemed safe.

The planning phase is carried out from June through July.

During this time frame the following items are addressed — supplies, equipment, preparing building and transportation for reopening with thorough cleaning and preparing a detailed work schedule for phases.

Phase one is carried out from Aug. 26 through Oct. 20, pending the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the local health department.

The items for this time frame include — implementing social distancing protocol and opening facilities with limited access or use by employees and remote instruction for students.

Phase two is carried out starting Oct. 21 or later pending TEA and the local health department.

The items for this time frame include — providing live instruction as an option and expanding use of school, per recommendations and data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TEA, Texas governor and applicable state and local agencies.

The timeframe for phase three is to be determined.

The items for this phase include — opening school fully, expanding full operation based on recommendations and data from CDC, TEA, Texas governor and applicable local and state agencies and determining what restrictions and guidelines stay in place.

According to the plan, the information can change as deemed necessary for the health, safety and well-being of students and staff.

“The COVID-19 pandemic remains quite fluid and will continue to dictate how we begin and navigate through the new school year,” the plan states. “Please know that we greatly appreciate your patience and cooperation as we continue to steer together through this unprecedented time.”