Phone: (940) 759-2281 ext 601
Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Steven Self
Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year at Muenster ISD
I want to welcome you to the 2020-2021 school-year at Muenster ISD. This year will present both great opportunities and challenges for our district. Our principals, staff, and I have been following news and guidance from the governor’s office, the Texas Education Agency, and the Department of Education during this entire time period of COVID-19 so that we may be better able to make decisions on the return to school in our students’ and teachers’ best interests. Their physical and mental health is of primary concern to all of us at Muenster ISD. As we have learned the virus that causes COVID-19 can infect people of all ages. Research from the Centers for Disease Control has found that while children do get infected by COVID-19 and some severe outcomes have been reported in children, relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized or have severe symptoms. Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that COVID-19 risks must be balanced with the need for children to attend school in person, given that lack of physical access to school leads to a number of negative consequences. With the rise in Covid cases in our county and state, there is risk and additional costs with whatever path to reopening we take. We can only mitigate, not eliminate risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19. We believe that the risk can be reduced, though. In reopening, we have attempted to balance health factors with educational and family needs.
For school funding purposes, the Texas Education Agency is allowing three forms of instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) Regular on campus instruction with various safety measures in place; 2) Remote Synchronous Instruction which is two-way, real-time/live, virtual instruction between teachers and students when students are not on campus (all students in a class participate virtually at the same time from home). In this method, the required amount of instructional time is scheduled each day. Synchronous instruction is provided through a computer or other electronic device or over the phone; 3) Remote Asynchronous Instruction which does not require having the instructor and student engaged at the same time. In this method, students learn from instruction that is not necessarily being delivered in-person or in real time. This type of instruction may include various forms of digital and online learning, such as prerecorded video lessons or online learning tasks that students complete on their own, and pre-assigned work and formative assessments made available to students on paper. This is similar to the instruction with which we finished the 2019-2020 school year.
MISD has chosen to begin the year providing regular, in-person, classroom instruction with safety measures in place much more like we began last year, rather how we ended the 2019-2020 year. Some schedule changes to adjust for physical distancing and safety needs will be evident with lunch, electives, and transportation. MISD will be required to follow the Governor’s Executive Orders and require that all faculty and students in grade 4 and up wear masks. With the ability to social distance limited, we must have students and faculty wearing masks to protect each other and the community at large. This request is based on the best known science at this time. We will ask that parents send bottled water or thermoses as water fountains will not be in service. Lunch schedules will be altered due to the need for physical distancing. Parents, who do not feel comfortable with regular classroom instruction, may choose virtual remote instruction instead. (Please see next to last paragraph.)
Elementary students (PreK-6) will follow a typical schedule with homeroom groups requiring some alterations. Junior (7-8) and senior (9-12) high students will follow their schedules with alterations made. All classes will adjust for distancing with such things as masks and limited group size.
We are asking parents to make transportation arrangements to get children to and from school, if at all possible. The number of students on our buses will need to be limited due to social distancing. In addition, we will be unable to offer the “town” route this fall.
Faculty and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. We will have hand sanitizer available in every room. There will be training from Nurse Richardson on handwashing techniques, covering coughs, and other precautions. Our maintenance and custodial contractor, EFI, will provide to parents and the community their protocols for cleaning and disinfecting. We will be prohibiting large group gatherings. School visits from community and parents will be limited and/or restricted.
We feel that this plan provides a way for students and staff to remain safe while participating in live instruction at school. More than likely, COVID-19 will be with us the 1st semester and perhaps into the second semester. In the event of a positive case of COVID-19 at MISD with a student or faculty member, the affected campus or entire district could be shut down to remote instruction for 3 to 5 days and remote instruction will be offered to all. We might have to make adjustments to schedules and distancing protocols at that time. We are dealing with a moving target and things may change on a few days’ notice. Please be patient with our faculty and staff because they are being asked to do things that have never been done in public education. Mistakes will be made.
On July 22nd,you will be receiving a short survey asking your preference for your child’s instruction; either regular, on campus instruction, or remote instruction. Please respond to that survey as soon as possible so that we at MISD can be prepared to serve our most precious resource.
We look forward to a great year with your children, albeit, a very different one.
Steven L. Self
Superintendent of Schools