Van Horn School set to begin in-person and remote classes Sept. 8

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By Becky Brewster

The Culberson County-Allamoore ISD Board of Trustees met in Regular Session on August 31, 2020 following a special meeting to adopt the budget and tax rate. In keeping with the mandates from the state and federal government concerning social distancing, the Board met through video-conferencing.

The Trustees approved the “Operation Connectivity Interlocal Acquisition Agreement” with the Texas Education Agency to purchase an additional 20 hotspots to provide internet access to students in areas outside the reach of local internet service. The District and TEA will each pay 50% of the cost of the equipment. This will also include unlimited data for a year at $15/month each. Supt. Ken Baugh reported that roughly 94% of the students can be connected now. These hotspots will expand this coverage. He stated however, that there will still be some areas that will not be able to connect even with these hotspots which will require cell phone coverage to work.

The Board also approved reclassifying the school nurse to a full-time contract for FY 2020-2021 to meet the demands of the State regarding COVID-19 requirements. Baugh presented the Mitigation Plan updated 8-31-2020 and a listing of some of the additional mandates for the District in regards to COVID-19 response and reporting. Baugh indicated that there would be a nurse’s aide available to assist with some of the additional duties or in the absence of the nurse. However, the Superintendent and Principal would serve as backup on the reporting requirements to ensure compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Baugh noted that masks would be required of everyone unless they are in third grade or under. Daily temperature checks will be required upon entry.

Principal Charles Gonzalez reported that registration began August 10 with returning students required to register online. Registration can be accessed through the CCAISD website parent portal. Gonzalez reported that 184 students have been registered online so far with 117 selecting to attend classes on campus and 67 selecting remote learning. Based on prior year enrollment, the District expected 354 students to register so with one week until school starts, only 52% have completed the online registration. New students are still subject to the “paper packet” registration with packets being available at the Van Horn Schools main office. Gonzalez indicated that parents are being contacted directly, noting that staff can go into the homes to provide registration assistance if needed.

Gonzalez reported that faculty and staff have been getting ready for the first day of school. The District will be using the “Canvas” platform which is a course management system that supports online learning and teaching. The teachers have been trained on the system. Baugh noted that there will be hiccups as faculty and students learn to navigate the system. The teachers will provide assistance to students and parents on the first day of school via a Zoom meeting to help mitigate some of the potential difficulties.

Athletic Director Brock Tyrrell reported that the Volleyball, Football and Cross County athletes have started practices following UIL and CCAISD policies. The first volleyball game will be in Presidio on September 8. The first football game will be on September 18 against Sanderson. However, due to social distancing requirements, including the limitation of 50% capacity at stadiums and gyms, attendance by spectators will be limited. At out-of-town games, the District will be allowed two spectators for each athlete. The schools will be taking temperatures of attendees and participants, and masks will be required. Tyrrell noted that due to the larger capacity of our facilities, more spectators will be allowed; however, the method of determining who can attend is still being discussed among the schools. The District will be streaming all games for all sports using the District’s HUDL account. HUDL is providing this additional service to Districts for this year due to the restrictions in game attendance.

In other business, the CCAISD Board members:

Approved two budget amendments.

Tabled approval of Pay Scales for FY 2020-2021 until the additional $100,000 is allocated.

Approved a contract with Mary Lynn McMichael to serve as Band Director/Teacher.

Approved the consent agenda.

Learned of additional grant funding and board training opportunities.


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