Frequently Asked Questions
As we navigate through planning the 2020 - 2021 school year, we know that many of you have questions and concerns. View the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below. This is a living document and will be updated often as we work to address as many questions as possible and in the event of further guidance from the Texas Education Agency. This document was last updated on July 21, 2020. We appreciate your patience and understanding in these unprecedented times.
- Registration/Selection of Instructional Model
- In-Person Instruction/Safety Protocols
- Virtual Academy
- Extracurricular Activities
- Special Programs
- STAAR Testing
- School Supplies
- What is the process to register your student for either instructional option?
- When do parents need to decide on an option?
- If parents chose a specific option and it’s not working well for our student, is there the option to switch?
- If my student switches instructional models, will they remain at the same point in the curriculum?
- If a student wishes to switch instructional models prior to the August 7th deadline, what is the process?
If you have a current student in SAISD and you would like to choose the Virtual Academy, you may find the enrollment form here.
If you have a current student in SAISD and would like to attend the in-person option, you do not need to do anything. They will be automatically enrolled for this option.
If you are new to SAISD you will need to fill out the enrollment form here and fill out the Virtual Academy enrollment form if you wish to enroll your student in the Virtual Academy.
Parents/Guardians can begin registering for the Virtual Academy on July 20 at this link. We would like for all registrations to be completed by Friday, August 7. If your child is not registered for the Virtual Academy by then, they will automatically be enrolled for in-person instruction.
To ensure we are able to adequately meet the needs of all of our students academically, students will be able to choose to move from in-person instruction or the Virtual Academy to the other model at each 9-week grading period. Notice must be provided two weeks prior to the end of the current grading period to allow for a smooth transition. Our SAISD teachers and administrators will be readily available in both options to provide ongoing support for all students to help ensure their success. If parents choose to enroll their students in the SAISD Virtual Academy, SAISD certified teachers will continually monitor their progress in the virtual learning and will be available for virtual assistance.
We are working very hard to help minimize instructional gaps when students move from in-person instruction to the Virtual Academy or vice versa. Currently, we are working to ensure that the courses in our Virtual Academy are aligned to the in-person option. However, regardless of where students enter either option, our teachers will work to ensure that students are successful and any academic gaps are filled.
- If a student or teacher tests positive, how will parents and students be informed? Will they have the option to keep their child home for two weeks to quarantine without counting as absent?
- Are masks required for students? If so, how will the district regulate masks?
- Will the child have to wear a mask all 8 hrs?
- What safety protocols will be made for teachers on campus?
- How many kids will be in a classroom?
- Will there be additional protocols for elementary students since they are not all required to wear masks?
- Would it be an option for the child to wear a face shield rather than a face mask?
- Will students still be allowed to bring their own lunch?
- Will high school students still have the opportunity to leave campus for lunch?
- Will high school students still have a passing period?
- Will students be able to carry backpacks to campus?
- Will elementary students still have recess or PE?
- What is Schoology? Does it mean that in-person students will be doing all of their work on the computer?
- If someone in a class tests positive, does the whole class get notified and be required to quarantine?
- Do elementary students have electives?
- If I register my student for the Virtual Academy for the first 9-weeks and the student does not attend extracurricular activities, when they enroll in in-person instruction, will they be able to opt into extracurriculars at that time?
- Will parents be able to participate in “meet the teacher”?
Per Texas Education Agency’s guidance, “Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, schools must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participate in any on campus activities.” Parents will have the option of keeping your child home to quarantine. If your child is able to continue accessing their instruction digitally through the platform set up by their classroom teacher on a daily basis, they will not be counted absent.
Yes. As per the governor’s order on July 2, face masks are required for students ages 10 and up when social distancing is not feasible. To make it easier on staff to regulate this, face masks will be required for all students fourth grade and above and highly recommended for students third grade and younger. Staff on our campuses will be monitoring the students and will communicate with parents individually if following this guideline becomes a challenge.
The district will be providing masks and/or face shields to the staff. Hand sanitizer and cleaners will be provided at every campus. Teachers and staff will be answering a screening questionnaire daily to report if they have been exposed to, or are experiencing any symptoms from COVID-19. We will be following all guidance from the Texas Education Agency, and any other state or local officials.
Students in grades 4th and 5th will be required to wear masks, when social distancing is not feasible. It is strongly recommended that students in Pre-K through 3rd grade wear a mask as well. We will be following other protocols that are recommended from the Texas Education Agency as far as social distancing when possible, hand sanitizer, disinfecting frequently touched areas, etc.
San Angelo ISD recognizes the importance of the need for students to engage in physical activities, and students will continue to engage in both PE classes and recess during the upcoming school year. SAISD will institute the following measures to provide for a safe and healthy environment while students engage in these activities:
- Implement student hand washing or sanitizing before and after recess and PE.
- Teach children about ways to stay healthy and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Limit the number of classes on the playground with rotating schedules.
- Promote class activities that keep classes separate.
- Teach activities that limit physical contact.
- Provide opportunities for PE classes to be conducted outdoors as much as possible.
- Require students fourth grade and above to wear a mask when not able to maintain six feet of separation and when walking to and from these activities.
- Limit the number of students who are together in groups for PE classes
Schoology is a Learning Management System that allows teachers to administer assignments and track student performance. This system gives students access to engage in learning inside and outside the classroom and gives parents access to follow their child’s learning and communicate with the teacher. Students will engage in traditional learning while in the classroom, similar to previous years; however, Schoology will allow students to continue to learn outside of the classroom in times when they may be forced to be away from campus due to COVID-19.
If a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19, all students and staff in contact with that individual will be notified. Those reported to have been in direct contact will receive more detailed information than those who simply attend or work at the same school. The individual's identity will be kept confidential. If a student or staff member in grades 6-12 test positive, those in direct contact as identified by class seating charts will be required to quarantine per the local health department’s guidelines of 14 days. If a student or staff member in grades PreK-5 test positive, students in the homeroom class will be required to quarantine per the local health department’s guideline of 14 days. If a student needs to quarantine, their learning will be supported by Schoology, our new Learning Management System.
As students enroll in the in-person instructional platform, they will go through the campus counselor who will work with them to develop their personalized schedule that will provide all needed classes. Extracurricular classes will be provided for in-person students who move back into in-person from the Virtual Academy. However, in high school, students who choose to go back to in-person instruction at the end of the 9 weeks, may need to wait until the end of the 1st semester to be enrolled in a new extracurricular course to earn high school credit.
- Will teachers for virtual instruction in the Virtual Academy be SAISD teachers?
- What is the policy for grading and attendance for the Virtual Academy?
- What is the difference between Schoology and Edgenuity?
- Can students sign-in and complete virtual instruction in the evenings?
- Will there be live teacher interaction for the Virtual Academy option (i.e. Zoom)?
- Will virtual students have the same teacher if they change to in-person at any 9-weeks period?
- Will materials such as textbooks and manipulatives be available to Virtual Academy students?
- Will students need a camera for the Virtual Academy?
- If I choose virtual, how will required credits such as PE or fine art be satisfied?
- Is the Virtual Academy the same thing as Edgenuity?
- What is the exact daily time requirement for each student?
- Will parents have the opportunity to view the virtual learning platform or will there be a video posted to show what it will be like for the students?
- For students selecting the Virtual Academy, can we utilize a private extracurricular in place of the virtual PE class?
- When will we know what times/class periods middle and high school courses will be offered?
- If a secondary class is closed due to a confirmed positive COVID-19 case, will the students attend the rest of their classes on campus or will all classes then be virtual?
- Is there a model of Chromebook that is recommended for students doing virtual learning?
- Will the Virtual Academy offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes?
- Can we sign our students up for other electives?
- Will cafeteria meals be available for students in the Virtual Academy?
- Will PreK be offered in the Virtual Academy?
- When will virtual students select their courses?
- How will the Gifted and Talented (GT) program work for virtual students?
Edgenuity, the platform used in the Virtual Academy, is video-based instruction and self-paced. The videos provide recorded instruction by teachers from within the platform; however, they are not live. Our SAISD teachers will be monitoring our students’ academic progress and activity. Students are able to contact their SAISD Virtual Academy teacher for academic support throughout the duration of the school day for live support within the platform.
For the Virtual Academy, the students will be required to demonstrate daily activity and regular progress in their virtual courses. All courses will be graded according to the SAISD Grading Guidelines, appropriate for the specific grade level. If students are participating in extracurricular activities that are governed by University Interscholastic League (UIL), grades will impact eligibility in both options. Regardless of choosing in-person instruction or the Virtual Academy, students participating in extracurricular activities will be held accountable by their grades as required by UIL in order to participate in these activities.
Schoology is for use in both our in-person and Virtual Academy instruction models. It is a Learning Management System that will allow us to organize the in-person instruction digitally so that when students need to be out, they can still access the same instruction and assignments that are occurring in the classroom. For Virtual Academy students, it will be the resource for students to conference with a SAISD teacher any time during the school day, provided times should be scheduled ahead of time to ensure availability.
Edgenuity will be the platform used for instruction in the SAISD Virtual Academy. It is an accredited, research-based learning platform that provides video-based instruction in an online platform that is aligned to our state standards. This program, which is accredited and aligned to the Texas standards, will allow SAISD to promote students to the next grade level and award high school credits.
Yes. Students will have the flexibility to sign in and do their daily requirements in the evening. As long as they are active for the required amount of time daily, the time of day is not restricted. Students will also have flexibility to work on the courses in the order or sequence that they prefer; however, they will be required to show progress in each course weekly. This will be monitored by our SAISD teachers and they will check in if your student is not meeting his or her daily time and work requirements.
An SAISD teacher will be available for conferencing through Schoology with students enrolled in the Virtual Academy during office hours or at a scheduled time for live support within the platform. To ensure his or her availability, these times should be scheduled with the teacher ahead of time. We anticipate that our SAISD teachers will be working with many virtual students so communication with your teacher will be key when support is needed.
For high school students, the options for PE and fine arts are limited within the SAISD Virtual Academy. However, we are able to offer the opportunity for students to attend some of our extracurricular courses in-person while being enrolled in the Virtual Academy. A course offering for both in-person and the Virtual Academy will be available for parents at a later date.
Daily log-in requirements will differ per grade-level and enrolled classes. Weekly and daily assignment completion will count towards your students log-in requirement and will be dependent upon your student. There will be a parent orientation with more information about Virtual Learning Academy once school begins.
We have a lot of information about the Virtual Academy and the Edgenuity platform on our website. We have included sample videos to watch as well as research and case studies and links to more resources. We want parents to be able to make an informed decision about their child’s education. https://www.saisd.org/VirtualAcademy
Yes, the Virtual Academy will offer Advanced Placement classes for Virtual Academy students. SAISD has created lists of all course offerings for both instructional options for middle school and high school to assist parents in choosing the option that best suits the needs of their students.
Similar to our Summer Feeding program, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided a waiver for non-congregate meal service, meaning virtual learners will now have access to grab-n-go meals to be consumed off-campus during the 2020-2021 School Year. In addition, USDA has provided a waiver to allow parents of enrolled students to pick up grab-n-go meals for virtual learners that are enrolled in the 2020-2021 School Year. These waivers are in effect through June 30, 2021. The San Angelo ISD Child Nutrition staff is currently developing meal service procedures for virtual learners. Communication with more information will be sent to parents. SAISD must follow National School Lunch Program (NSLP) guidelines and student eligibility will apply as either paid, reduced, or free lunch status. Parents may apply online for meal benefits at schoolcafe.com.
- If parents choose the Virtual Academy, how will their students participate in band, athletics, ROTC, and other extracurricular activities? Will they still be an option?
- If you choose to send your Virtual Academy student to extracurriculars, will they have to attend everyday?
Activities identified as opportunities for Virtual Academy students include athletics, cheer, Chiefettes, Tex-Anns, band, choir, orchestra, mariachi, theater arts, technical theater, JROTC, and speech and debate. The parent or the student (if he/she drives) will be responsible for transportation to and from the school to participate in the extracurricular activities during his/her normally scheduled class period for the extracurricular.
- What considerations have been made for PPCD students? Will PPCD students have the option for in-person or virtual instruction?
- Will speech be offered to elementary students?
TEA changed the name of the special education program for students ages 3-5 years old from PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities) to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). Students in the ECSE program have the choice of in person or virtual instruction. An ARD meeting will be held to individualize and customize your student’s program of services and support should you choose for your student to attend virtual instruction.
- Will Middle school students still have athletics?
- Will students in athletics be required to wear a mask while working out, playing football, running track, etc.?
- Will there be season tickets to football games this year?
With the health and safety of our students, staff, and community in mind and in accordance with mass gathering regulations and recently issued University Interscholastic League (UIL) protocols, attendance at all San Angelo ISD football home games will be at a maximum capacity of fifty percent (50%) occupancy or 7,000 fans until further notice. Due to these occupancy limitations, for the 2020 football season we regret that SAISD will not be selling season tickets and there will be no reserved seating. All season ticket holders will be offered their same seat locations from the 2019 - 2020 football season when capacity limitations are lifted and season ticket sales resume.
- Will there still be STAAR testing for students?
- How will the STAAR test be different for in-person and virtual since students will not be receiving the exact same learning experience?
- How will STAAR testing be administered if we choose virtual?
- Will bus services be provided to eligible students who choose in-person instruction?
- What will safety protocols look like for students on the bus?
For the students who need transportation, some safety precautions will be in place (e.g. using hand sanitizer upon entry and cleaning the buses thoroughly between trips.) In addition, students of all ages who ride SAISD buses will be required to wear masks for the safety and well-being of all students and staff. This includes students under the age of 10.
- Will SAISD provide devices and internet for students without access to one at home?
- Does the district have any discounted prices for parents to use to purchase a device for their student?
- If a classroom is quarantined due to a positive COVID-19 case, will students without access to a device at home be provided temporary access to a device for the duration of the quarantine?
San Angelo ISD students, faculty, and staff may make technology purchases at discounted rates with vendors in the below link. Each offer indicates who is eligible to receive the discount. For specific details on how to make a purchase, please refer to each vendor's Purchasing Instructions. https://www.saisd.org/techDiscounts
San Angelo ISD will work to provide devices to any student who does not have access to one at home during a closure period. Devices and hotspots checked out to families are the property of SAISD and come with responsibility for use. Parents and guardians will be asked to sign an acceptable use policy along with a checkout form that ensures proper use of and return of all SAISD technology devices.
- If my student switches instructional models, can the students take their supplies with them?
- Where can parents locate the school supply lists?
- Is there a separate school supply list for the Virtual Academy?
- Are there school supply lists for High School?
The school supply lists are optimized for in-person instruction. Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy may or may not need all of the listed supplies and may choose to wait to see which supplies are needed for their particular classes. However, if a student moves from virtual to in-person instruction at any time during the school year, they will need to provide all of the required supplies on these lists upon returning to the classroom.