Family Update | Aug. 20
Please allow me to take a minute and speak from the heart. I am not a medical expert. I am not a politician. I am an educator, and have been part of the LISD family for my entire career in public education. More than 35 years. My children grew up in LISD schools. My wife retired from LISD, and I still have family working in the district. This district has been my life’s work. My heart beats for this district, its students, families, and staff. And there is nobody more invested or who cares more about the LISD family than me.
Schools have always been a reflection of the communities we serve. But our communities, our state, our nation, are divided right now. Masks or no masks. Vaccine or no vaccine. Personal freedom or civic responsibility to others. As I have said to many parents who have reached out - I truly understand their dilemma and respect everyone’s right to their own opinions, as I certainly have my own personal opinions as well.
But at the end of the day, my job as the leader of this district is to find the best path possible that serves the interests of our nearly 50,000 students and 6,500 employees. That is challenging in a typical school year, but nearly impossible in the midst of a global pandemic.
If the last two years have shown us anything, it is that our schools truly are the cornerstones of the communities we serve. Our families depend on our schools to provide an education for our students, and our educators do a tremendous job at that. But families also depend on us for much more than that. They depend on our counselors to help them when they are in crisis. On child nutrition employees to provide hot meals. On social workers to connect with our families to meet whatever needs arise. All while caring for our own families, and carrying our own worries and concerns.
So I come to you asking for your support for our students and staff. Please show them grace and kindness as we do our very best to keep our doors open so we can continue serving each family in LISD. My hope this year is that you join the LISD staff in helping to create a safe, inclusive and nurturing learning environment and community for our students. No matter the circumstances, our students should be surrounded by positivity, compassion and encouragement as they embark on their learning journey.
I’ve received many emails asking a few common questions. Below you will find some clarity on those topics. All of this information can be found in our FAQ section of LISD.net/backtoschool.
Thank you for being part of the LISD family.
Kevin Rogers, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Lewisville Independent School District
LISD strongly encourages masking in our schools, especially for those who are unvaccinated.
TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY & TEXAS SUPREME COURT
We have received many questions regarding a recent update from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and a Texas Supreme Court ruling, but neither overrides the governor’s order prohibiting mask mandates.
Until the legal challenges to multiple conflicting mask orders are decided, and clear guidance provided, LISD will continue to make masks optional. As we’ve witnessed the past two years, plans can change quickly, so we will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as warranted.
Offering virtual learning is a much more complex situation than just hiring more teachers, or allocating more money for virtual learning.
If the district made the decision to offer virtual learning, a very small number of students would be accommodated. In-person class sizes would increase, current class schedules and teachers would be adjusted, and additional teachers would need to be hired. Like most surrounding districts, LISD is still trying to fill teaching vacancies, without factoring the additional teachers needed for a virtual program into our hiring plans.
We saw last year that the virtual learning offered was met with a great number of concerns and criticisms. Our teachers were stretched thin as they were moved back and forth between virtual and in-person learning. Taking away resources from in-person learning to create a very limited virtual learning program does not seem feasible or sustainable at this time. We have analyzed this extensively and are prioritizing in-person learning.
Lab-confirmed positive: LISD will follow the most current recommendations from national, state and local health officials by following isolation guidelines for test-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Students will be required to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms OR 10 days from a lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 test.
Close Contact: While we cannot require students or staff to quarantine if they have been exposed, LISD believes that is the best practice to lower the spread of COVID. TEA guidance indicates that parents of students who are determined to be close contacts of an individual with COVID-19 may opt to keep their students at home during the recommended stay-at-home period. Of course, we expect any student or staff with symptoms of illness to stay home.
CONTACT TRACING & NOTIFICATION
LISD campus personnel will contact trace to determine close contacts and provide notification to families of students who were exposed to a lab-confirmed positive case of COVID. Families will receive a notification if your child is determined to be a close contact.
We are updating our notification procedures, and by the end of next week school personnel will begin sending a campus-wide notification of lab-confirmed COVID cases.
COVID CASE TRACKER
All lab-confirmed positive cases reported to campus and/or district personnel will be tracked on a weekly basis at LISD.net/covidtracker. Case numbers will be updated every Monday for cases reported to the district for the week prior (Monday through Friday), when the district submits the required reports to the state. If your child has been exposed to a lab-confirmed COVID case, you will receive notification as soon as possible. The tracker will not be updated on a daily basis, and confirmed cases that come in late Friday or over the weekend will not be reflected until the following Monday’s report (ex: cases reported Saturday, Aug. 21 will be updated Monday, Aug. 30). LISD is complying with reporting regulations from the State Health Department (DSHS). The tracker is not a real-time system.
In addition to some mitigation practices used last year, such as increased cleaning measures including electrostatic cleaning of all classrooms, the district is now utilizing air purifiers with H13 True HEPA filtration in every elementary classroom and 6th-grade classroom, and is in the process of expanding that to all middle school cafeterias. These stand-alone air purification units will supplement current HVAC filtration systems already operating in the classrooms. These air purification units remove 99.9% of particles which allows for the capture of virus carriers. The air will be filtered every 30 minutes.