Waco ISD updated parents and staff Tuesday, August 10, on the protocols that will be in place for back to school this month.
Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said the guidance is in response to Governor Greg Abbott's order prohibiting mask requirements and the Texas Education Agency's new public health rules.
"As we prepare for the start of the 2021-2022 school year and COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state, I know that you have questions about how Waco ISD will work to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading in our schools and other facilities," said Kincannon.
Waco ISD will do the following to reduce case numbers from rising in its schools:
- Encourage the wearing of masks in all district buildings,
- Encourage employees and students to get vaccinated when eligible,
- Conduct contact tracing,
- Notify parents/guardians if their child is considered a close contact for a positive case of COVID-19,
- Notify faculty and staff if they are considered a close contact for a positive case of COVID-19,
- Update the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard at wacoisd.org/dashboard.
- Continue the use of rapid testing for students and staff,
- Provide assignments to students who are unable to attend school after testing positive for COVID-19 or whose parents/guardians opt for them to quarantine after being identified as a close contact,
- Monitor the attendance and achievement of students adjusting plans as needed.
“Students who are absent this year because they have tested positive or who choose to quarantine after being identified as close contacts will receive excused absences," said Kincannon. "Just like before the pandemic, teachers will send home assignments, and students will be expected to keep up with their work while they are out."
Wearing a face covering and getting vaccinated are the two things parents can do to protect students, according to Kincannon; at this time only three percent of students in McLennan County between 12 to 17-years of age have been vaccinated.
"While not required, wearing a face mask around other people remains one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect them and yourself," Kincannon said. "We'll continue to provide face masks for employees and students."
The school district will also be holding its annual Family Fest on Saturday, August 14, from 9 am to noon at University High and Waco High. The event will offer COVID-19 vaccinations and other required immunizations for free. To register visit covidwaco.com and click on ‘Schedule Your Appointment’.
The first day of school for Waco ISD students will be Monday, August 23.