By KAROLYN GEPHART
A FISD Virtual School Board Special Meeting was held on July 27. Due to COVID-19 and to allow for larger attendance, the meeting was conducted by teleconference.
At their July 20 meeting, the Board of Trustees discussed possible changes to the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar to include a delayed start date for students of August 26. This date was offered to allow time for teachers who report on August 12 to have a total of 10 professional learning and in-service days instead of the 5 currently scheduled.
Time was needed for staff and students to be trained on all safety protocol and changes to the learning platforms.
This additional time could be gained by adding two minutes to the school day of the current instructional calendar and changing the January 4 staff professional learning day into a student contact day.
The Board and FISD staff also discussed the possibilities of starting school virtually for a period of time as well as a transition period for students to return in smaller groups to allow staff to apply new safety protocols in the buildings and classrooms prior to the return of all students choosing to attend in-person in the fall of 2020.
At the July 27 special meeting, the Board members had to choose between two options. Both op-tions begin student instruction on August 26. Board members chose Option #1 unanimously.
Option #1 provides an August 31 start date for full in-person instruction for those choosing in-person instruction after a one-day virtual meet and greet and two transition days for partial groups of in-person students to be on campus.
In other business, the Board unanimously approved rescinding the resolution of the board dated March 23, 2020 related to compensation. When students and staff did not return after Spring Break in March, the board ap-proved continuing to pay employees even though they were not in person on campus. With the reopening of school planned and Option #1 put in place, the Board voted unanimously to rescind the resolution.
The third and final item on the evening’s agenda was the review of UIL Guidelines for the new school year. Both Superintendent Thad Roher and Athletic Director Robert Koopman gave input into how UIL guidelines would im-pact the district. The two discussed sports, band, graduation and other extracurricular activities under the University Interscholastic League guidelines.
During the meeting Board members praised the district for the plans it has put in place and how hard educators and committees have worked all summer.
“I’m so proud of our teachers and learning team,” Roher said. “I’d put our plan against a lot of other plans in districts as to what it provides.”