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Hays CISD releases 2020-2021 back-to-school COVID-19 safety plan

The first day of school will be delayed until Sept. 8, nearly three weeks later than initially planned.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — Hays CISD will begin the new school year about three weeks later than initially planned, according to the district's 2020-2021 back-to-school COVID-19 safety plan.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright presented the plan at a Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday evening.

The first day of school was originally scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 20, but now it's been delayed until Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.

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For the first three weeks of the school year, all learning will take place at home and online. The district anticipates beginning in-person instruction on Monday, Sept. 28, depending on the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

When that happens, parents will have the option to either continue online-only learning for their student or choose in-person learning. The district will provide more information soon about how parents can select either option.

In addition to the 3,000 devices and Wi-Fi hot spots the district loaned out during the spring and through the summer, the district has purchased more devices to help families facilitate online-only learning.

Students who choose in-person will be required to wear face coverings at school, where maintaining 6 feet apart is not possible. This will also be a requirement for staff and faculty. Masks will be required on buses.

The district will continue to provide meals five days a week to families who need food during the pandemic.

RELATED: Hays CISD board unanimously approves retiring Hays High School's Rebel mascot

"We know, based on the nature of this pandemic and the size of our district, odds are not in our favor for us to be completely COVID-19-free as the new school year gets underway. Our best efforts to keep campuses safe will make a huge difference, particularly if we all do our part. But what happens if we have a student or teacher test positive? Currently, there is no easy answer. Much of that will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the case and the most recent protocols and requirements in place at the time from health officials and experts. It’s always good to be prepared. Parents, employees and students have demonstrated remarkable flexibility with COVID so far, and it looks like we’ll need to keep at the ready, for the time being, to make quick adjustments. This whole experience is in no way ideal, but we’ll do our best. It’s about safety first and foremost. It’s about caring for each other and our neighbors. It’s about everyone working together. And, together, we are indeed stronger," the district said.

For a complete look at the safety plan, click here.

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