Back to School – What Looks Different this Year

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Emily Moore

An encouraging message on the marquee outside of Shadow Forest Elementary, one of Kingwood High's feeder schools.

Emily Moore, Assistant Student Life & Features Editor

UPDATE- As of July 24, 2020, the plan below will not be followed.  In response to the Houston/Harris County order to delay on-campus instruction until at least September 8th, Humble ISD will likely start online.  No final decision has been made thus far. 

On July 21, 2020, Humble ISD released an updated plan on the resuming of school. The district plans to observe a modified schedule through September 4th, and, after further evaluation, announce a decision on September 3rd regarding the schedule for later in the year. Humble ISD is aware that different students have different needs and desires, and they have come up with a variety of options to accommodate each student. They are one of the few districts in the area offering an in-person return so early. The new plan has stirred controversy among community members and staff due to health and safety risks, but is still set to take effect in mid-August. Below is a run-down of the recent update and what Kingwood Mustangs can expect for the coming school year. 

 

Options for Families

Humble ISD has provided a few different options for schooling this coming fall. Secondary students can participate by learning fully online, online with in-person fine arts and UIL athletics, or mixed on-campus and online learning. 

Students who elect on-campus learning will be going on an A/B schedule, so each student will only be on-campus 2-3 days each week. This will dramatically lessen the amount of students on campus each day.

With all students participating in some sort of online learning, the district is making an effort to better their virtual teaching techniques. In order to foster a smooth back to school experience, many teachers have recently undergone training targeted to prepare them for teaching online. New learning platforms will be implemented, and Kingwood High School will utilize Schoology. 

Humble ISD also aims to be flexible with families who wish to switch forms of learning at any time. In addition, they will provide devices for students lacking access otherwise. 

 

Increased Safety Measures

Though on-campus attendance will be extremely low, with 27% of high school students electing online only learning and only 50% of in-person learners attending on any given day, it is imperative to enforce safety measures. Proposed measures include fogging buildings nightly, updating air filters, ensuring rapid in-district Covid-19 testing for staff, implementing staggered passing periods, and having PPE available for students in need. 

 

The Question on Many Minds

One of the main concerns around in-person instruction resuming is the manner in which Covid-19 cases will be dealt with.  

The district plans to notify parents if someone at the school their child attends contracts the virus. Though they do not intend to mandate self-quarantine for children who have been in a class with someone who has tested positive, the district has assured parents that online learning opportunities will be available if a student is not comfortable returning to school. Other guidelines have been put in place for students who have tested positive. Humble ISD will allow them back on campus if, “at least 10 days have passed since symptoms appeared, symptoms have improved, and the student has no fever without medication for at least 72 hours.”

The same goes for children with symptoms and no positive test result. They may, however, return to campus earlier if, “they can provide a medical professional note clearing the child based on a different diagnosis or two separate negative acute infection tests taken at least 24 hours apart from a testing location approved by the Texas Department of Emergency Management.”  

Adults including visitors and staff deemed ‘close contacts’ will not be allowed on campus until a 14 day exposure interval has passed.  

Another worry for parents and students is the process by which an area previously occupied by an infected person will be treated. Though specific details are unclear, the district plans to shut down areas ‘heavily used’ by people who have tested positive within three days of contact for cleaning and sanitization.

 

What it Means to KHS

Kingwood students and staff have proven to respond to obstacles with resiliency. After their response to Hurricane Harvey, few would doubt their ability to adapt to unexpected situations. Students may not be able to pack stands at sporting events or scream in support of their classes at pep rallies, but they will make themselves heard. Though the KHS student body may be divided physically, the effort to stay connected will not phase them.

 

See Humble ISD’s Back to School 2020 newsroom release at https://www.humbleisd.net/Page/121437

Watch the most recent Humble ISD School Board meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrSCKMneVJE