By Megan Wehring
HAYS CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT — As the second nine-week grading period is quickly approaching, the Hays CISD Board of Trustees prepare for a possible influx of in-person students.
Virtual learning has proven to be a challenge, causing the Board to predict that more students will be in the in-person classroom for the second nine weeks. Parents have until Friday, Oct. 30 whether they want to switch to virtual or in-person learning.
Time has been an issue for many teachers, especially when it comes to grading assignments for both sets of students. Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright told the Board of Trustees, at the Oct. 27 meeting, that there will be possible amendments made to the academic calendar to give teachers additional time for planning and grading.
“This has been the most challenging year we have ever experienced,” Wright said. “It’s very difficult. I have talked to some teachers that haven’t really had any quality time with their families on the weekends because they have been grading, planning and trying to figure out Schoology.”
Transportation is also a concern since there will either be more routes or more students on each bus. Parents are still encouraged to provide transportation, according to Wright.
“We are going to continue to ask parents to provide transportation so that we can minimize the number of students on buses,” Wright told the Board of Trustees. “So if we do have a 25% influx, we still are going to ask if it’s possible for parents to transport their own children and if not, we are going to have to make some tough decisions.”
While Hays CISD has been faced with the challenge of finding substitutes, teachers can receive additional compensation if they take in additional students. Teachers are not required to give up their conference period, according to Marivel Sedillo, chief human resources officer for the district.
Trustee Meredith Keller explained that she has received feedback from teachers and campus staff that they are scared for what the next nine weeks are going to look like.
“It feels like the floodgates are about to open,” Keller said. “It’s like a perfect storm for terrible feelings for our educators.”
Uncertainty is still up in the air until the numbers are finalized on Friday. Wright said the district will have to look at the data and move forward with where to place students, depending on the reality of in-person instruction.
“The hard part is everybody keeps wanting to speculate what’s going to happen when we do have a vaccine or treatment,” Wright told the Board of Trustees. “You’re trying to build relationships with your existing teachers and classmates, so you don’t want to divide kids up and teachers if you don’t have to.”