Return to Learn: General FAQs

  • On Thursday, August 13, we will welcome more than 26,000 students and their families back to school. Whether in-person or online, Pflugerville ISD will be ready to support learning for all students. The PfISD Re-Entry Task Force has been working since May to create safe and viable opportunities to meet the diverse educational needs of our students, with safety for students and staff as the top priority.

    The Task Force has taken input from both parents and staff via surveys, and incorporated the feedback, along with guidance from the Texas Education Agency, the CDC and other health authorities into the DRAFT options available on the district’s Return to Learn Webpage. Additionally, the district has created a Return to Learn overview presentation video that will provide an overview of the Return to Learn Task Force, an introduction to each Return to Learn plan, how to access detailed plans, how to provide feedback to the district and task force members and next steps.

    Below are a list of Frequently Asked Questions received from parents, students and staff. Please continue to check back for updates.

    General FAQs

    1. I do not think it is safe to reopen schools. Why is PfISD planning to offer in-person instruction?
      The District is working under the latest guidance provided by the Texas Education Agency, Governor Greg Abbott, and various health agencies and organizations. In a recent communication with the Texas Education Agency, Commissioner Morath stated that the District could not mandate parents keep their children at home for virtual learning. Virtual learning can only be an option. The District is therefore required to provide on-campus instruction.

      As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, that direction may change. The District will continue to look for updated guidance from the state as to the most appropriate way to educate students while also prioritizing the needs of the whole child and the health and safety of students, staff, and the community. Until the District hears otherwise, PfISD must move forward with planning and preparation to serve students under the guidelines we have been given.

    2. When will my family need to make a decision on students attending in-person learning at school or remote learning at home?
      Parents will receive an email with instructions on how to choose for each child in their family. The due dates will be communicated at that time. According to the Texas Education Agency, parents will have until two weeks before the first day of school to change their minds about placement; for PfiSD that is July 30. Parents will receive a direct email explaining this process and timeline.

    3. If I choose one option and want to change the choice later in the year, can I make a switch?
      Yes, there will be defined opportunities built into the school year where changes can be made to the educational setting. While the district is asking you to make a decision during the summer regarding how your child will start the new school year, please know that we understand that you are having to make this decision based on the current situation with COVID-19 and with potentially changing information. Parents will have until at least two weeks before the first day of school to change their minds about placement.

      After the school year begins, a parent may switch their student’s instruction style (virtual learning or on-campus learning) at the end of a grading period.

      Please note that if a student switches between on-campus learning and virtual learning, then that student may not have the same teacher(s) or course schedule, as teachers may or may not be teaching both a virtual and an on-campus class.

    4. Will the district require the use of masks for on-campus instruction?
      Yes, all students and staff members will be required to wear masks when on campus. We will also comply with all mandates regarding social distancing, as well as health and hygiene protocols. 

    5. What should families with health issues or a high-risk member of the household choose?
      Each family must consider their unique situation to make a personal determination. We are providing as much information as is known at the time so families can make informed decisions.

    6. What if most families choose the in-person option? Would there have to be changes to accommodate social distancing or will there be a limit of how many students can select the on-campus option?
      We will be able to provide instruction to all students in whichever format their families choose. We will also comply with all mandates regarding social distancing, as well as health and hygiene protocols.

    7. What happens after I make my commitment?
      If parents select the on-campus option, PfISD will schedule your student into the course requests made earlier in the year, to the extent reasonably possible. If you select the virtual option, that process will be communicated at a later date depending on secondary course availability and options. 

    8. Why does PfISD need to hear back from families sooner rather than later?
      While we understand that many questions remain regarding the new school year and that family sentiments may change as COVID-19 conditions evolve, timely feedback is critical to PfISD in preparing for the first day of school on August 13. The District must have data to work with when planning for master schedules, classroom space, remote learning, and how we can best meet the social-emotional needs of our students when they return. The District wants to provide all staff with the strongest foundation possible to prepare for the needs of all students.

    9. How will you address social-emotional or mental health concerns?
      Counselors are available to support students academically, socially, and emotionally and can provide mental health support or resources for families who may be struggling emotionally. Contact information for your student’s PfISD counselor and local mental health resources can be found on the District website. To ensure staff is equipped to address social/emotional and mental health concerns, PfISD Counseling Services will continue to host training opportunities for all staff including trauma-informed care, mental health first aid, and social-emotional learning.

    10. Will the teachers of remote learning and in-person classrooms be the same?
      All students will be taught by PfISD teachers. If a virtual learning student switches to on-campus, they may not have the same teachers, as teachers may or may not be teaching both a remote and in-person class. Remote courses will be taught by PfISD teachers but not necessarily a teacher from your student’s home campus.

    11. Will the school year calendar be changed to reflect an intersessional calendar provided as an option by TEA?
      No, the current PfISD calendar is accurate and will stand for the 2020-21 academic year. A copy of the calendar can be found here.

    12. Will grading, GPA calculation and/or class ranking be different between in-person learning and remote learning?
      No. According to TEA guidelines, the grading policies for remote learning must be consistent with the District’s grading policies for in-person learning. Regardless of which learning option you choose for your child, the expectations for coursework and the grading system will be the same for both on-campus and virtual learning. PfISD believes this is the fairest and most equitable solution for all of our students. Eligible high school credit-bearing courses will be included in calculating GPA and class rank for both on-campus and virtual learning students.

    13. How will student progress be reported?
      Overall progress on learning outcomes will be communicated in a “traditional” format. Assignments and grades will be entered into Skyward. The expectations for coursework and guidelines for grading for on-campus learning and virtual learning will be the same.

    14. How will dual credit classes be handled?
      Dual credit via Austin Community College and dual enrollment via the University of Texas course offerings will continue to be offered through our partner colleges. At the high school level, students who choose to enroll in the virtual learning option will be allowed to take dual credit courses via Austin Community College online learning platform. For dual enrollment courses at UT, students will utilize the university online learning platform but may be required to complete some assessments or projects at a student's home campus.

    15. Will there be STAAR testing in the 2020-21 school year?
      The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has indicated that STAAR testing will still occur during the 2020-2021 school year, in compliance with state and federal legislation.

    16. How will teachers address any potential learning needs from the school closure last spring?
      To support all students, teachers will utilize a variety of formative assessments and supplemental resources to personalize student learning to address identified areas of need.

    17. What if I can’t log into Skyward to make my choice?
      We highly recommend that you select your child’s learning option using the online form provided in Skyward. If you do not have access to the online form, you may use this form and return it to your child’s school registrar. (Español) (Việt)