December 30, 2020
Good afternoon TSD Staff,
Given the rapid increase of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Travis County, Austin Public Health has recommended a return to 100% remote instruction for two weeks following the winter break. Per their guidance, we'll be returning to online learning through January 15th with our next student travel day on January 18th.
January 4th is a teacher preparation day, which we hope will be helpful when preparing for the following two weeks of virtual instruction. That day will also provide time to contact families who have been learning on campus and ensure they are ready for two weeks of online learning. We know this quick pivot is a lot to ask, and we hope you'll request assistance as needed.
In addition, supervisors will need to prepare for alternative work opportunities for positions that rely heavily on having students on campus. (ex. cafeteria, transportation, student life, etc.) To be compensated employees should expect to work their regularly scheduled hours. (This is not the equivalent of last spring when we had a school closure and emergency leave was awarded.) Employees not working their regularly scheduled hours will need to use their leave or LWOP to cover any time not worked.
Employees will have access to campus as needed with the caveat that all safety protocols will be strictly enforced including mask wearing, maintaining physical distancing, excellent hand hygiene, and completing the online self-screening. For any employee who can successfully complete their work from home, please consider doing so during this two week time. If you have questions about your position, please speak to your supervisor and/or Division Director.
We want to make it very clear that in following this local health guidance we will have to make some school calendar changes to be in compliance with the number of required operational minutes. (There has been some confusion regarding the number of minutes in the approved asynchronous learning plan applying toward the total minutes of instruction. This is only true when students are also attending in person.) When a school is fully virtual, only 50% of the instructional time is considered for funding purposes. We are seeking a waiver from that provision from TEA due to the unique nature of our School, but there is no guarantee it will be approved.
Adjustments to the school calendar for the second semester are as follows:
- We will return to our “standard” school day 7:55 am to 3:20 pm.
- Friday dismissals will be at 2:20
- We will keep January 4th as a prep day for teachers
- We will convert the following Staff Development days, 2/15, 3/12 and 4/5 to instructional days. (If TEA gives us a waiver for the remaining 50% we will get these days back.)
Our options are limited, but we felt this was a critical time to remain virtual for the safety of our TSD
community. Thank you for your patience, resilience and hard work this year. Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.