COVID-19 Protocols and Precautions
1. What happens if a student or staff member on my home campus tests positive for COVID-19?
RISD will adhere to the guidelines provided by public health authorities and TEA guidance in the event of a lab-confirmed positive case. Major elements of actions to be taken include reporting the positive case to DCHHS, contact tracing with DCHHS to determine if any students or staff were considered to be in close contact during the period of contagion, identification of specific areas of the campus for possible physical closure for deep cleaning, notification of any identified students or staff determined to be close contacts along with their next steps, and general notification of campus parents and staff of a positive case.
More information can be found here.
2. Will RISD provide personal protection equipment for students and staff?
RISD will provide every student and staff member with a face covering, or families can provide their own covering if they prefer. It is a universal expectation that all students and adults wear face coverings while at school, when possible and appropriate. Students in grades 3-12 and all adults must wear a face covering throughout in-person instruction (except while eating/drinking/exercising). Students in grades PK-2 must wear face coverings while moving within the school and will be strongly encouraged and reminded to wear face coverings while in class as possible and appropriate.
Students and staff should take their face coverings home with them each day and return with it the next day. Students who arrive at school without a mask or face shield will be provided a replacement, but personal responsibility must be considered as the district’s PPE supply is well-stocked but not inexhaustible. No adults will be permitted inside an RISD school without a face covering.
More specific policies and procedures regarding face coverings can be found here.
3. Are parts of RISD located outside of Dallas County? Is RISD required to comply with orders or recommendations from Dallas County?
All RISD schools and all of RISD’s attendance boundaries are located within Dallas County. Dallas County Health and Human Services is RISD’s county public health authority and has provided valuable guidance, expertise, resources and recommendations to the district throughout the pandemic. RISD intends to continue following DCHHS guidance related to the safety of our employees and students.
1. When can RISD students return to campus?
RISD is following school closure guidance from Dallas County public health officials and is planning for students to return to in-person learning on September 8, for those families that select that option.
2. Is there an option for a hybrid model, in which students attend class in-person and virtually on alternate days?
The Texas Education Agency precluded hybrid models as an option for districts until recently. As of late July, the TEA has conditionally allowed for a hybrid option to be used as a transition from fully virtual to fully in-person for up to four weeks within the first eight weeks after the school year.
RISD has not determined if it will use a hybrid model as a transition into face to face learning. The earliest that could occur would be after any form of in-person instruction is permitted, starting Sept. 8. Decisions on a hybrid model will not be considered until data show a decline in COVID-19 cases to the point where RISD and local health officials determine it is safe for all students and staff to be on campus together for extended periods of time.
More information about the guidelines under development for helping RISD determine potential the timing of transitions to different instructional models can be found here.
1. What is the difference between virtual synchronous and virtual asynchronous learning? Is asynchronous learning required by Texas as the virtual learning model for young children?
Virtual asynchronous learning, mandated by the state of Texas for our youngest learners, will be available only for students in Pre-K through grade 3. Teacher-student interaction is not continual, as younger students need to learn by both doing and listening. Asynchronous means the teacher and student will not be in ongoing communication throughout the day. The student, with the help of a parent or other caregiver, will log in to a virtual classroom, receive assignments and show progress via electronic communication. Families of our youngest students will pick up and turn in packets of activities and assignments every week at their school of physical enrollment. In addition to the work in the packets, these students will learn through interactions with teachers on electronic devices parts of the day, everyday, in the asynchronous model.
Virtual synchronous learning will be used by all students in grades 4 through 12. Synchronous learning will include a rigorous online delivery of RISD’s curriculum, using a student device. Students will be in continual communication with teachers throughout the day, following a virtual schedule and attending virtual classes, as they would in a face to face model.
Students in grades 7 through 12 will have a schedule of classes to attend and attendance will be taken in every class to adhere to state law. Texas mandates students attend at least 90% of classes to move on to the next grade, and that will not change in a virtual model.
2. Where can parents find out more information about the devices, software and apps students will use during RISD Virtual Learning?
RISD is developing a Parent University to help parents and caregivers get a better understanding of Google Classroom, Seesaw and other electronic educational programs that will be used so they can support virtual student learning from home.
More information about the hardware and software that RISD will use in virtual learning can be found here.
3. How can families get technical help with virtual learning? Has RISD increased the IT staff and help desk professionals to assist nearly 40,000 students navigate virtual learning?
Henry Hall is the new Chief Information Officer for the district. Hall has been with RISD for more than 20 years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal of two technology-focused secondary schools, and executive director of instructional technology. Henry’s team has added help desk staff, including the addition of bilingual professionals, to support students and families who will need assistance with virtual learning.
Parents or students in need of assistance should begin with their school technology assistant, who will then refer to central support if needed.
All RISD students are provided a device for virtual learning, and RISD provided hundreds of hotspots to families in the spring to ensure connectivity. As part of the enrollment process, family technology needs are determined to ensure they are prepared for virtual learning.
More information about technology support can be found here.
4. What secondary courses are not available to take virtually?
The following courses are not available to students who select virtual instruction. Please note this list is subject to change, as additional courses may not be able to be offered based on final enrollment numbers and course requests.
Fine Arts – Junior High
- Intro to 3D Sculpture
Fine Arts – High School
- Intro to 3D Sculpture
- Country/Western Dance
- Show Choir
- Ceramics 1
- Studio Art 3D
- Sculpture 1
Career & Technical Education – Grades 7-12
- Airframe Tech
- Animation 2
- Auto Tech 1
- Auto Tech 2
- Constru Tech 2
- Cosmetology 1
- Cosmetology 2
- Engin Des & Pres 2
- Intro Unman Aerial Veh
- Prac Hosp Srvs
- Prac Hosp Srvs 2
- Prac Human Srv 2 Ext
- Prac Human Svc 1 Ext
- Prac in Animation
- Prac in STEM
- Prac Transp Syst
- STEM Aircraft Pplant Tech
- STEM Aircraft Pplant Tech Dual
- STEM Airframe Tech
- STEM Prac in STEM – Biotech
- STEM Prac in STEM – Robotics
- STEM Prac Transp/Aircraft
- STEM Prac Transp/Aircraft Dual
PE and Local Credit
- Partners PE 7/8
- Pals 1
- Pals 2
- Support Peer Rel 1
- Support Peer Rel 2
1. Will the front office of my local campus be open during normal school hours? If so, on what day will RISD staff begin office hours?
Campus administrators and front office staff are currently on campus and answering phone calls, emails and questions from parents and stakeholders.
Visitors are discouraged from coming into front offices, and no visitors are permitted inside buildings past the front office. Parents are encouraged to call or email school with general questions as opposed to an in-person visit. School and RISD staff will work to ensure everyone’s questions are addressed.
More information about visiting campuses can be found here.
1. Will a student lose their seat at a campus if they choose to remain in the RISD Virtual School after health officials deem it OK to return to in-person learning?
No. All RISD students who are enrolled for the 2020-21 school year will retain the right to remain at their attendance area or magnet school throughout the year. This means students can stay in the RISD Virtual School all year and then return to that school for the 2021-22 school year, assuming all typical enrollment requirements are met.
2. When and how can parents formally choose their child’s instructional model for 2020-21?
Parents of enrolled students will receive an email from RISD the week of July 27 with information and instructions to formally choose a 2020-21 instructional model (virtual or face to face) for each of their enrolled students.
Parents should complete a formal choice for each enrolled student. The period to make a formal choice will remain open until August 6, and parents can also make changes during that time. Parents are strongly encouraged to review RISD’s return to School Blueprint at http://www.risd.org/backtoschool in order to make an informed choice.
3. If my child begins the first grading period in the virtual school and then we choose to return her to face to face instruction, will she have a seat available at her home campus? Or is there a possibility that she will be placed at a different school?
RISD’s goal for every student moving from the RISD Virtual School to face-to-face instruction would be to place them in a classroom at their enrolled campus, which would happen for students in secondary grades (7-12). However, as shared in The Blueprint, based on face-to-face enrollment and seat availability in a given grading period, this may not be possible 100% of the time in elementary grades (PK-6). There could be a situation, however unlikely, where a student may need to be placed at a geographically close campus if space is not available for face-to-face instruction at their enrolled campus. While this is viewed as unlikely, parents should be aware of the possibility as they are finalizing their decisions. (New FAQ, TC 7/28)
1. How can I be sure I receive the email messaging from RISD about the formal process to select the type of instruction for my child? I did not receive the email to select the type of instruction for my child. What should I do?
RISD uses the primary email address provided for each student during the enrollment process. As the enrollment process occurs online, the district requires a primary email address for the parent/guardian of each enrolled student.
In order not to miss email messages from RISD, parents can add firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to their email contacts for every email account they use so their email provider does not filter or mark as spam/junk the messages sent from RISD.
Parents who wish to change their primary email address on file with RISD should contact their school. Parents who require support with the process to make their instructional choice can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents may also use this link to enter their student’s information manually and make their instructional choice. Parents may also call their school’s front office to make their instructional choice over the phone.