Tyler ISD has released its Return to School 2021 plan detailing the district’s health and safety protocols for in-school learning, such as stringent cleaning measures and optional mask-wearing for the upcoming academic year.
Last May, the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees made face coverings optional for students and staff. For the upcoming school year, Tyler ISD has decided to keep the same protocol. The only protocol removed from the plan includes learning at-home procedures, since all students are expected to attend classes in person.
“For the past five months, our administrative leadership team has been redesigning the Tyler ISD Return to School protocols for the 2021-2022 school year,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “Due to the successful in-person school year we all enjoyed last year, we feel our school district is primed to recapture the momentum and traditions enjoyed by so many Tyler ISD students, parents, guardians, faculty and staff.”
During the 2020-2021 school year, Tyler ISD completed approximately 99% in-person classes and activities for staff and students, claiming most of them were healthy throughout the year.
The district credits updates in science and data, including the widespread accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who choose to receive it, and the understanding of the impact the virus has on younger populations. Those updates have allowed school systems to redesign their operational plans to become more student- and staff-friendly for the upcoming school year.
“It remains the District’s belief that face-to-face instruction is the best method for a child’s learning and social-emotional growth,” Crawford said. “Our protocols worked and brought us to this point. As with every school year, all students and staff are expected to follow our health and safety guidelines. We are moving in a direction we believe is best for all Tyler ISD students and staff. Additionally, we have the experience and expertise to implement tighter health protocols if needed in the future, and we are positioned to do so at a moment’s notice.”
According to the Return to School protocols for the upcoming school year, students and staff will be monitored for infectious diseases daily. Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not currently recommend universal temperature screenings, parents or caregivers are strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illnesses every day.
As for staff, a self-screening process should be completed prior to entering Tyler ISD buildings. The district, however, may require further screening of students and staff at any time based on the current state and federal guidelines and local conditions.
The guidelines also encouraged students and staff to feel comfortable if they do choose to wear a mask at any time. The district also said they will be doing their part in having frequent cleaning and disinfection to support a healthy learning and work environment for students and staff.
According to the report, there will be a C3 disinfecting machine in restrooms, which will be cleaning two times a day, multiple hand sanitizing stations at each campus, and student classrooms will be disinfected daily. Custodians will use an electrostatic machine to clean classrooms, locker rooms, gyms, athletic equipment and restrooms daily.
The district also included in their report that school bus drivers, bus assistants and staff, will be disinfecting each bus daily with electrostatic sprayers and focusing particularly on high-touch surfaces, such as bus seats, steering wheels, knobs, stairways and handrails, and when possible, bus windows will be open to allow outside air to circulate into the bus.