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Central Texas school districts break down what plans they have for fall months

School district officials said they're working long hours to come up with plans for when kids are supposed to come back to school.

AUSTIN, Texas — School districts across Central Texas said it's hard to tell where they'll be in a few months, but they're still coming up with multiple plans to keep up with changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Looking at the fall has been really challenging – interesting and challenging – and we've started gaming out different options," said Leander ISD chief teaching and learning officer Dr. Matthew Benz. "Things are evolving in Texas. It's kind of hard to say what the guidance from the state will be, or from the Texas Education Agency will be. As we get closer into June, July, August, things are happening so fast, as you know."

"A lot of unknowns, but you have to prepare for everything," said Dr. Eric Wright, Hays CISD superintendent. "We're considering a lot of different options. Obviously nothing is finalized yet, but we want to make sure that, number one, safety is always the first priority."

Wright said they're planning for everything, including how to serve meals and practice social distancing. 

"We've talked about feeding the kids in the classrooms instead of doing them all in the cafeteria, reducing the number of classes in the gym, reducing the number of classes in the library," he said. "We would probably ask the kids to wear masks on buses and then we would reduce the number of kids that are able to ride on buses, which means we would have to stagger our routes even more, which could be problematic." 

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With the governor's executive order and the expiration of the state stay-at-home order on April 30, Wright said they have students and teachers that need to get back in buildings to get items as Hays CISD closes out the year. They're trying to make plans for that right now. 

"I think we have a good idea moving forward in a safe manner while practicing social distancing," said Wright. 

Virtual learning in the fall is a possibility for Hays CISD and for Leander ISD.

"We are prepared to continue and actually improve and take the next steps towards an online model that is robust and could be permanent," said Benz. "I envision some type of a hybrid model if we do have schools opening, where some kids would be coming to school."

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Dr. Benz said he anticipates some families might want to keep kids home. He said it's going to take a lot of time to prepare for August, but they're going to make sure families are taken care of. 

"All those factors do come into play. No matter what, we want to make sure, wherever we're at, wherever our families are at, whatever the guidelines are, our students are learning," said Benz.

Both school districts, Leander ISD and Hays CISD, do know for sure they will have summer learning online for students. 

KVUE reached out to Round Rock ISD and it sent this statement about its fall plans:

"As far as plans to serve students in the fall, our ability to do so in person depends on how this ever-changing situation develops and guidance from our local and state health departments and governments. While we remain hopeful to see our students and staff back on our campuses, we are looking into a number of scenarios and are preparing to adapt as needed to keep our students and staff safe and healthy."

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