Athletes return to campus

Posted 6/9/20

Madisonville CISD Athletic Director Rusty Nail was present at the district’s monthly board meeting for June Monday and discussed in detail the athletes’ return to campus for offseason training, which commenced earlier that day.

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Athletes return to campus

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Madisonville CISD Athletic Director Rusty Nail was present at the district’s monthly board meeting for June Monday and discussed in detail the athletes’ return to campus for offseason training, which commenced earlier that day.

Nail collaborated with head football and track coach Russell Urbantke, band director Stephanie Schmidt and assistant band director Greg Brown, whose students were also allowed to return to district facilities, among others to properly navigate the state’s many requirements for holding the activities.

“We wanted to develop a system that was consistent since we share so many kids,” said Nail in his report to the board.

Officials have utilized an app called SportsYOU to, in part, limit the amount of traffic that might otherwise clog the entryways during the screening process. Through the app, students can individually answer the required questions from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each day before they arrive to campus.

Their temperatures, also taken daily, would then be acquired by officials at the school, expediting the entire process. Once they enter their temperature and scan a provided bar code, their submissions are sent to a google sheet, which can be accessed by the necessary officials.

The workouts themselves strictly follow the UIL’s guidelines (which can be accessed on the district’s website).

“There is not stopping or standing in line when they get there,” said Nail. “They come in knowing where their predetermined station is. With each rotation, we need to take some time in between and disinfect everything that was used before the next group comes in.”

Nail emphasized the importance of the process of following each specific guideline put forth by the UIL.

“The rest of this month is critical for us,” said Nail. “The job we do with this is going to determine if there is a fall (sports season).”

Nail reported high numbers from the first day of workouts and anticipates them to grow as they progress.

The board also discussed the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) recommended calendar adjustments, which the state believes would help navigate the uncertain prospects that lie ahead for the 2020-21 school year.

The district, as always, has already put together their own traditional calendar, which accounts for teacher work days and includes some instructional flexibility if there was another brief shutdown.

Two of the presented calendars from the TEA, the COVID-19 Response Calendar and the Intercessional Calendar, add a number of extra days to the calendar and also allow for more flexibility during breaks.

Superintendent Keith Smith mentioned the biggest issues with the new calendars, which include a lack of consideration for extra-curricular activities as well as possible funding issues with the extra days suggested.

“In this time of getting used to knowing that you don’t really know anything, I think it is a little too early,” said Smith. “We have a calendar and went through the process. Our teachers looked at it, community members looked at it, our board looked at it and we all liked it. So I think as long as we possibly can we should hold the line and try not to deviate from that original calendar.”

There could, however, also be funding issues that arise down the line if the district decides to stick with their calendar and another outbreak forces a longterm shutdown during the 2020-21 school year.

No official moves were made on the calendar, but the district is still weighing its options and will announce its decision in the coming weeks.

Assistant Superintendent Keith West reported the district’s official student engagement numbers through the COVID-19 pandemic. The district saw a response rate of over 99 percent at their Elementary, Intermediate and Junior High campuses, and a 98 percent response rate at the high school.

“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into this from our principals and teachers as well as our kids and parents,” said West. “I can tell you that is not the way it went everywhere, so we were very pleased with the engagement levels we were able to keep.”

MCISD officials are still unsure what the state will do with the data, but say it will not impact any funding-related decisions.

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