Central Texas schools don’t anticipate post-Thanksgiving shutdown but ask students to take devices home

Education

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Central Texas school districts with in-person learning options say they have every intention of returning to campus following the Thanksgiving holiday, but encourage teachers to send devices home with students out of precaution.

Thursday, Pflugerville and Round Rock district officials sent letters to parents and teachers outlining their plans following the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We have every intention of returning to school following Thanksgiving Break, however, we would like to encourage our students and staff to bring their devices and other supplies home when they leave campus on Friday,” Round Rock Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores wrote in a letter to parents. “Some students may need additional time to catch up on schoolwork or benefit from access to our online libraries and other resources.”

Dr. Steve Flores said RRISD will keep tracking COVID-19 cases and will keep people updated on positive cases or any need to quarantine. He said it will let families know if cases rise to the level of needing to close the district.

Earlier this week Stony Point High School closed its doors for the rest of November “due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts.

Since Friday, Nov. 13, Stony Point has had two positive cases, nine probable cases and 39 close contacts identified.

River Oaks Elementary teachers in the Pflugerville Independent School District also received a letter from their principal Thursday.

“I don’t want to create panic, but I do want us to be fully prepared to provide our students with continuous instruction in case we have to do virtual instruction after Thanksgiving … Please make sure you do the following: take home all instructional materials they may need for instruction should we not return to school after Thanksgiving,” River Oaks Elementary Principal Aracely Suarez wrote in a letter.

This letter from River Oaks mirrored another from the principal at Dearing Elementary:

“As we recall from this past Spring, many students left for Spring Break and did not have learning materials with them and then our campuses shut down. We are not anticipating a shutdown at this time, however, going forward we would like to establish this norm of sending learning materials home with parents prior to the lengthy holidays,” said Christy Chandler, Dearing Elementary Principal.

KXAN reached to the Leander Independent School District to see what its device preparations are looking like. The district does not plan to send out letters due to the amount of students who already have online learning devices.

“Half of the district is virtual and they are already using devices which have been checked out and assigned,” said Matt Mitchelle, a Leander ISD spokesperson. “In addition, all secondary students have devices. In the event we had to shutdown — which we don’t anticipate this — only half of our elementary students would need a device. In that case, we would have a device distribution.”

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