AISD still drafting reopening plans, awaits more TEA guidelines

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Abilene ISD leaders are still developing the official plan for reopening schools for the fall semester, updates from the Texas Education Agency have lead to delayed announcements of what they’ve already crafted.

“We had some updates we were ready to release then they went sideways on us,” said AISD Superintendent Dr. David Young.

In a media briefing Wednesday, Dr. Young said the district had been close to announcing plans for the upcoming school year but recent discussions with the TEA changed what they’d drafted up.

With an update expected from the state agency on Thursday and possibly next week, Dr. Young says he’s hopeful that more concrete plans can be shared soon. A survey all Texas superintendents are filling out for the TEA is likely to aid in that effort.

“There seems to be a real emphasis on making sure we’re ready to ramp up for large scale online instruction,” said Dr. Young.

AISD in the meantime continue preparing infrastructure for remote learning as students will have the option to receive in-person instruction or online education this year.

Dr. Young says AISD is still assessing how many Chromebooks it might need to purchase to and is even looking into supplementary online-learning platforms that could be used on easily accessible devices like an iPad or iPhone.

“[we’ve ordered] 3,00 more Chromebooks but the line is long at Dell those won’t be ready until November,” said Dr. Young.

Dr. Young in the briefing encouraged parents to remember to register their students this year. Using the example of Long Elementary, only 300 students have registered not even making up half of the school’s available capacity.

Dr. Young says this is not because students aren’t coming back to school but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for parents to touch base with educators to let them know of their educational plans.

“I don’t think that’s a function of we’re gonna have less kids at Long i think it’s a function of the environment that we’re in,” said Dr. Young.

With just over a month left before the start of classes on August 20th, Dr. Young and administrators continue navigating uncharted waters; however, they maintain hope that students will be back in the classroom and safely.

“Our burning desire is to have our students back in front of their teachers,” said Dr. Young.

Dr. Young also shared that the AISD school board would be looking into developing a policy for naming AISD schools – this after wide demand for the renaming of 4 schools named after Confederate leaders/

Dr. Young also made note that the AISD Summer feeding program would be ending this week; however, the Abilene Food Coalition will provide free meals to cover that 3-week gap between now and the start of the school year.

For more on the locations of the Summer Coalition program visit this link to the AISD website.

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