San Marcos CISD delays school year start; Round Rock ISD virtual town halls full

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SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Monday night San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District voted to delay the start of the new school year to Sept. 8, two weeks later than the original start date.

San Marcos CISD said students will begin with virtual learning and it plans for all students to return to classrooms on Oct. 5. However, that plan could change. Board members say they could extend online learning at home for the first nine-week grading period.

The district’s latest survey shows parents are split about 50-50 between in-classroom learning and virtual learning. The district plans to offer both options for parents.

San Marcos CISD officials said they do not plan to add more days to make up for the delayed start, instead, they will add more to each school day.

Another part of the plan includes the expansion of the school’s one-to-one program. This will ensure every student has an electronic device to work on like a laptop, tablet or iPad.

Once the district begins to offer in-classroom learning they will offer masks for students and staff.

“The preparation for something like this is a daunting task, but at the end of the day as a district, what we do is put our staff and our students’ safety as our top priority,” Andrew Fernandez, the district’s communications director, said.

At Round Rock ISD, a series of virtual town halls that began Monday night are already at capacity. The district said it will live stream for parents to watch on its website.

The district’s first three weeks of school will go online. Following those first three weeks, the district also plans to offer in-classroom learning. District officials said the latest survey also shows parents are split — similar to the feedback at San Marcos CISD.

“This is unlike anything public education has ever faced,” Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, the district’s communication director, said. “This will continue to evolve. It will continue to change, and we’ll make updates.”

The district said parents will have until August 6 to decide on a learning preference, but district officials said they will work with parents and be flexible.

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