Breckenridge Texan

BISD administrators address upcoming school year during weekly COVID-19 update

BISD administrators address upcoming school year during weekly COVID-19 update
July 26
08:09 2020

Breckenridge Independent School District officials gave a brief look at the upcoming school year during Friday’s weekly COVID-19 update hosted by Stephens County Judge Michael Roach.

BISD Superintendent Bryan Allen and Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Casey Pearce provided some basic information about the upcoming school year and answered a few questions from local residents. One thing Allen acknowledged early on in his comments is that the situation tends to change daily with guidelines from various agencies and that things he said during the update could be changed by the time school starts.

During Friday’s COVID-19 update, Charlie Parker with KLXK Radio asked BISD Superintendent Bryan Allen questions that community members had submitted. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

At this time, the school district is planning on school starting on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Current plans are for a hybrid system that allows for both in-classroom learning and online learning, depending on each student’s situation.

However, Allen explained during the update on Friday, July 24, which was broadcast live on the Stephens County, Texas Facebook page and on KLXK radio, the online learning will be different than it was in the spring when schools were initially forced to close to try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Due to the emergency nature of the spring closure, quite a few rules and regulations were altered; for example, grades during the spring semester were not counted toward the overall GPA and regular attendance was not taken.

When the 2020-21 academic year begins next month, attendance will be required in order for students to get credit for their work. In-school attendance will work as it always has, but the remote learning attendance will be gauged by the student’s engagement, including the number of minutes the student is logged on, how much they’re actively participating in an activity, the completion of an assignment, and/or checking in with the teacher via phone or email.

Allen said some people in the community are questioning why the district is reopening the schools. “The short answer to that is…we try to do what’s best for the kids, as far as instruction goes, there’s no replacement for the classroom teacher,” he said. “The computer screen can do so much, but it’s the classroom teacher, the engagement, the relationship that the students have with those teachers, that is what provides a quality education.”

Whether or not students will be required to wear masks or face shields will depend on several different factors, Allen said, including what Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders are at the time school starts, the age of the children and the situation they are in.

“I’m going to say masks are highly encouraged,” he said. “We’re going to encourage anybody who wants to wear a mask, who wants to wear a face shield, any type of face covering, to do that and do it in an appropriate way, obviously.”

Additionally, social distancing will be implemented to the best of their abilities, Allen said.

Students who will be taking part in the remote learning option will not be eligible for UIL participation, including sports and band, the superintendent said. “We’re hoping that this remote learning situation is for our people who are truly worried about their children being in school, so the thought of being worried about coming to school but not worried about coming to a practice or an event doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me,” he said.

Another thing that Allen pointed out during the update is that once students choose the remote learning option, they will be required to stay with that option through that six-week grading period.

Pearce addressed the situation with the athletic department. Information about the upcoming football and volleyball seasons was covered in the Breckenridge Texan article, Coach Pearce, Buckaroos welcome UIL announcement, get ready for football, volleyball.

Allen said BISD administrators have been working on a plan within the guidelines from the Texas Education Agency, UIL and the Centers for Disease Control and intend to release the plan next week.

“We’ve been working on a plan to make our schools and our facilities as safe as possible for any of our children who are wishing to return,” he said. “We’re working on a draft plan right now; we’ve been working on that for about the past month. The administrators and I are meeting on Monday to finalize this plan, so that we can get it out to the public on Tuesday.”

To see the complete update, click here to visit the Stephens County Facebook page.

Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline top photo: Breckenridge Independent School District Superintendent Bryan Allen and Athletic Director Casey Pearce talked to the community about the upcoming school year and changes that the district will see due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Breckenridge schools will offer both in-classroom learning and remote learning this year. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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