Georgetown ISD superintendent discusses preparations for students to return to in-person classes

Set for School

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — The new school year begins virtually Thursday for almost every student at the Georgetown Independent School District, but the superintendent detailed what plans and preparations are in place for classes to start in-person again next month.

Fred Brent shared his reaction Wednesday after learning that an employee at another school district in Williamson County tested positive for COVID-19 after in-person classes resumed there.

“We’re going to see COVID continue to spread to some degree,” Brent said. “That’s why it’s important that people wear our face masks, our hand sanitizer, hand washing, things that we know help reduce the spread of COVID. But I am concerned. I know that we are expecting COVID cases to appear, and we will respond with the protocols to quarantine those people and to notify those in close contact. But, yeah, the health of our people is a concern, and it’s a difficult balance to be in. We know people need to be in school, but we also know that there is risk.”

Brent told KXAN’s Tom Miller that more than 50 students will return to campuses Thursday because they require specific, technical programs. However, he said everyone else will start school remotely. The plan is for in-person classes to begin Sept. 10 in Georgetown.

“On Sept. 10, we’re expecting a little over 60%, right in that ballpark, of our students to be on campus,” Brent explained. “If they signed up that they will be on campus, they’re going to be allowed to be here, so the other percentage of students will be remote learning only, but even for those students, there are classes they can come up to school for. We tried to be as flexible as possible. We know that’s what our community needs.”

Brent also addressed technology concerns for his own district after Leander ISD reported problems that delayed the remote start for high school students.

“Each one of us has different systems, and our system is a little different from Leander’s,” he said. “We do not think we’re going to have the same technology problems they had, and that’s not an indictment on them. We just use different systems. We’ve also learned some things from Leander, so we think that, while we could have a technology glitch, we all know that could happen, but we think we are well prepared to navigate the first day of remote learning.”

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