NZISD to begin semester Aug. 19

Posted 8/11/20

North Zulch ISD announced last week it will delay the start of the 2020 fall semester until Aug. 19 and released staff protocols for the return to campus. The new school year was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 12 and offers traditional in-person instruction for students as well as an online option.

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NZISD to begin semester Aug. 19

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North Zulch ISD announced last week it will delay the start of the 2020 fall semester until Aug. 19 and released staff protocols for the return to campus. The new school year was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 12 and offers traditional in-person instruction for students as well as an online option.

“One of the learning management systems we were using was at first not approved (by the state), then it came out that it was approved,” said Superintendent Alan Andrus, referencing the district’s use of Google Classroom for online instruction. “The (state guidelines) also changed again last week, so I just felt like, for our staff, that we needed to push the date back to make sure we are prepared to start and to make sure we get off to a good start.”

The lengthy staff protocol document, which can be accessed on the district’s website, includes a link to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension course titled ‘Special Considerations for Infection Control During COVID-19’.

“Information presented in this course will help you and other childcare staff develop and implement a plan for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses through everyday, preventative actions called non-pharmaceutical interventions (or NPIs), which are considered of utmost importance for childcare programs that remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the description of the course, which all NZISD staff is required to participate in. “Emphasis will be placed on three key types of NPIs, which include personal, environmental, and community.”

The staff protocol document presents guidance for teachers if they receive a positive test for COVID-19, requiring them to stay absent from work until 10 calendar days after symptom onset has passed, there have been an improvement of symptoms and at least 24 hours have passed since recovery.

Staff members are required to use a self-screening tool (which can be found at the conclusion of the protocol document) to verify they do not have symptoms and have not been in contact with someone in the last two weeks with a confirmed COVID-19 case or someone under evaluation for symptoms.

If symptoms occur, they are instructed not enter the building and to contact their supervisor immediately.

Basic face-covering and social distancing practices will be required.

The conclusion of the staff protocol document also includes a process map for employees in the workplace that outlines what steps are to be taken in the event of exposure or contact with an exposed individual.

According to Andrus, as of Monday afternoon, there are not currently any staff members suffering from COVID-19. He did, however, acknowledge the fact that the situation is always fluid and subject to change at any time.

The lengthy staff protocol document can be read in full on the district’s website along with a slew of similar safety protocol links including instructional and operational procedures and guidelines for the arrival and dismissal process.

The district will release a number of other links to their back to school plan page, including protocols for parents and students, this week.

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