From Greenville ISD Superintendent Demetrus Liggins, Ph.D.:
I have some important updates to share. Below, you will find a summary of the changes, which have also been updated on our Back to School Page: https://www.greenvilleisd.com/Page/2966
First, I want to express my gratitude to you for your patience and support during what has been one of the most difficult times we have faced together. As educators, we thrive on spending times in person with our students and with building relationships with our families and community. We know the tremendous benefits our students experience from being with their teachers and peers in the classroom. Nothing can replace that. However, with all the precautions we must now take due to COVID-19, we cannot engage in the ways that we could before.
I pledge to you that we will always put the safety of our students and staff first. Balancing best safety practices with best educational practices is challenging. It requires flexibility for all involved because what is best for one family may not be best for another. So together, we must carefully think through what is best for each student, given an ever-changing set of circumstances, while also honoring state, county and local health guidelines. We are committed to giving our families the most choices possible and ensuring that our students receive high quality curriculum in person and online.
Here are the updates:
New start date: Greenville ISD’s start date is changing to Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
Here is a link to the new calendar: https://bit.ly/32PYZT5
One of the most important considerations in moving the start date is to allow our teachers to have extensive training in the online learning platforms. Last spring, our teachers and students did a remarkable job of adapting with no notice. Over the summer, we’ve had time to plan much richer online learning for students and training for teachers, and we are proud of what we will be rolling out this fall.
Introducing a hybrid/blended option for grades 3-12: Last week, the state reversed its decision regarding what school districts can offer, and we can now give students and families a hybrid / blended option. The hybrid option combines at-home and at-school learning. Initially, this option was not available, which was a disappointment to many parents who had given it a high ranking on our first back-to-school survey. The hybrid option allows for fewer students and staff on campus on any given day, and it also balances online instruction with in-person instruction.
Although many school districts are sticking with the at home-only and in-person only options, we find the hybrid/blended option to offer many advantages, both instructionally and academically.
Grades 3-8 will have three options: at-home only, at-school only, and hybrid.
Grades 9-12 will have two options: hybrid (rotating schedule at school and at home) and at-home only.
Next steps for choosing your option:
Please visit the Back-to-School page (https://www.greenvilleisd.com/Page/2966) and click on the button that includes your student’s grade level. Consider which option you believe will work best for your family.
Log into Skyward Parent Access to complete the brief online form. Since there are new choices available, we are asking all parents – even those who have already completed online registration – to fill out the choice field in Skyward. When parents log in to their parent access, there will be a box on the homepage that says “An online form is available to fill out.” Click the link and fill out the form for each child. It is a very quick process.
If you have questions, email email@example.com.
Monday, July 27 is the deadline for making your choice. After the first two weeks of school, we will check back with you to see if the option is working or if you would prefer to change your choice.
Hunt County leaving open/close decisions up to districts: Tuesday, Hunt County officials met with area superintendents, and, after listening to the variation in the number of COVID-19 cases, made the decision to allow districts to determine whether to open and close for now. As you may know, Dallas County has issued an order that public schools may not start until Sept. 8, Tarrant County ordered public schools to conduct online-only classes until at least Sept. 28, and Collin County has not issued a restrictive school start order.
Extracurricular activities: Tuesday, the University Interscholastic League issued new guidelines (https://www.uiltexas.org/policy/covid-19) ordering 5A and 6A school districts, including Greenville ISD, to delay the start of in-person practice for students. Football and volleyball may not begin until Sept. 7. Marching band may begin with supervised marching / visual fundamentals Aug. 1-Sept. 6.
I think I can safely say that we are all wishing that we could return to our school traditions and ways of teaching and learning. But for now, we must deal with the situation at hand. Safety comes first, and we will work together with each family to find the very best safety and educational option for each student.