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Belton ISD trustees discuss plans for beginning of school year

The district has prepared for multiple scenarios of prevention and mitigation measures that may be necessary during the course of the school year, according to BISD.
Credit: White, Crystal

BELTON, Texas — During a meeting held in person at the Pittenger Fine Arts Center on Monday, the Belton Independent School District Board of Trustees discussed what school will look like when the year starts on September 8.

The district has prepared for multiple scenarios of prevention and mitigation measures that may be necessary during the course of the school year, according to Belton ISD.

These efforts are to help the district adapt to changing health conditions and public health guidance while they remain committed to having learning experiences for students, according to Belton ISD.

“Families who choose At-School Learning are encouraged to be prepared to embrace any of the five scenarios on the district’s System Response Guide,” Superintendent Matt Smith said. “Our hope - if we have to start in scenario four to control the number of students on campuses - is that it’s temporary for just a few weeks to make sure our systems are working and everyone is taking this seriously.”

Smith said the district is doing everything possible to get students in school.

“We want our students to be face-to-face. It has been my hope that the longer we can hold off on making that decision, the better chance we have of opening in five days of face-to-face instruction,” Smith said. “I understand the implications this decision has on families and everyone around them. If we want our kids to be able to be in school, we have to be as intentional as possible on how they start school.”

The district plans to announce the scenario it will start in as soon as this week, according to Belton ISD. 

In addition to Scenario four’s hybrid schedule, the district will implement a year-long change to a block schedule across all scenarios at secondary campuses to reduce the number of hallway transitions during the day.

As part of the plan for state COVID-19 requirements, the board approved a  plan to be submitted to the Texas Education Agency. The plan includes details on student schedules, materials design, student progress and implementation for at school learners when the district is in scenarios four and five and for intermittent remote learners, according to Belton ISD. 

The board also adopted a $125,276,500 million budget for the district’s 2020-2021 general fund. This includes an increase in operational costs, including the compensation plan approved in July, as the district opens its second comprehensive high school and fourth middle school campus. 

The board adopted measures to track progress toward five district goals approved earlier this summer. Approved measures include the district moving forward with a long-range strategic plan to be developed by June 2021 that will include community feedback and engagement, according to Belton ISD. 

“These key progress measures are not the only measures of success we will use this year but they are intentionally designed to have a clear focus for us to accomplish tasks that move our system forward,” Smith said. “The most important thing our students, staff and community should see through these measures is the collective commitment to achieve forward progress in Belton ISD.”

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