March 15, 2020
SCUC ISD Parents/Guardians and Staff:
I want to take a minute and update everyone briefly on Covid 19, what this upcoming week should entail, decision points and potential timing of decisions, and potential scenarios for SCUC schools and students.
First, let me begin by thanking our wonderful faculty and staff as well as our supportive parents and community members for bearing with us as our district, and public education in Texas, navigate truly uncharted waters. There is no playbook or graduate level class that prepares school and community leaders for this type of event.
Public schools exist first and foremost to provide a high quality education to equip our students to succeed in life. We serve many other important roles, too. We make sure students without access to food get fed. We ensure that students have the social and emotional support needed to succeed.
Now, SCUC ISD and public schools across the country have a role in public health, to do our part to slow the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Doing all of those things above will require some deep thought, effective planning and quite frankly some patience, grace, and certainly teamwork from everyone as we build new systems and potentially operate differently.
The Week of March 16-22, 2020. SCUC ISD schools and extracurricular activities have been cancelled through Sunday, March 22, 2020. Essential staff are working to ensure our buildings are kept clean and safe, and district and campus leaders are working to review protocols and make decisions in three areas: (1) expectations for the current one-week closure, (2) how the district would function operationally and instructionally should the closure last longer, and (3) what trigger points and operational adjustments would need to be made upon resuming school.
Student Breakfast and Lunch. Beginning Monday morning SCUC will continue to feed our students who need breakfast or lunch. These “to go” meals will be provided at one central location, Schertz Elementary School (701 Curtiss Street, Schertz, TX 78154). SCUC Child Nutrition staff will provide curbside service for breakfast between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and lunch can be picked up between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. We are asking that parents and students remain in their vehicles as a precautionary health measure.
Planning for Remote Instruction. On Monday and Tuesday of this week Student and Academic Services directors and coordinators and some campus principals will be working through what remote instruction would look like in SCUC should we need to be out of school for longer than this week. The group will review how to accomplish remote instruction utilizing technology and ways that are more low tech. We anticipate bringing instructional staff in as early as Wednesday of this week to train, organize and deploy our plan. At this point, our goal is to have remote instruction ready to start on Monday 3/23/20, if SCUC would have to remain closed. This would certainly require a strong partnership with our parents/guardians in serving our kids in this manner. We have NOT made any decision to extend the closure yet.
We anticipate that early this week SCUC will send a list of resources for parents to work with students. These resources would be for this week to keep the academic learning going as we transition either back into regular school operations or into a more prolonged school closure. Again, no decisions have been made at this time as to which way we will go.
Monitoring Covid 19 and Determining Next Steps. SCUC leadership is monitoring the most up to date information from the experts in public health: the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), San Antonio Metro Health, and our local emergency managers. It is vitally important that important decisions like opening or closing schools be made with the most factual information from our state leaders.
SCUC leadership is also working daily with the Texas Education Agency with daily conference calls and with other San Antonio area school leaders through frequent phone and conference calls. There is great wisdom in having a number of folks at the table to review various options.
This week the school district will need to decide whether to return to class on Monday, March 23, 2020, or remain closed for a longer period of time. If we come back to school in a week or if we come back to school later down the road, SCUC will potentially have to make some operational adjustments. What potential operational adjustments could be made are not known at this time. Planning for a restart of school is part of what we are working on this week.
Our other option would be to remain closed for a longer period of time. If that does indeed happen, our thinking right now is that we would begin remote instruction on or about 3/23/20. We have an entire work group coming together on Monday and Tuesday to iron out many of the decisions. They will be joined by our teachers and instructional staff later this week to make the necessary preparations.
When will we make the decision to return on Monday 3/23/20 or to remain closed for longer? My thinking right now is that we will make that decision by Thursday afternoon, Friday morning at the latest. However, as everyone has witnessed, the Covid 19 situation is extremely fluid and changes could come quickly. We will always focus on what is in the best interests and safety of our students and staff. Just one week ago the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, the NCAA, UIL and so on were all business as usual. What a difference a week makes.
Final thoughts. We are so blessed in SCUC ISD to have so many talented leaders, caring and professional teachers and staff and supportive parents and community members. It will take all of us to work through the uncertainty of this Covid 19 situation. Our leaders are working diligently to make the best decisions in a difficult situation. In all decisions we are balancing the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, our mission to educate students, other emotional and physical supports that students need, and how we can do our part to keep the greater Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City area healthy. As decisions are made and we receive more information, we will update our frequently asked questions (FAQ) webpage (https://www.scuc.txed.net/Page/32560).
I appreciate so much your support and flexibility as we move through this together.
Clark C. Ealy, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools