Staff Update 03-31-20

Posted by Tamra Spence on 3/31/2020

Dear PfISD Staff,

We hope your first two days of remote learning went well! I know it will take time to get in the groove but it will get easier every day.

I want to jump right to the main focus of this update for you and provide early notice that we are continuing the school closures through May 1 in accordance with orders from Governor Abbott. Our projected return date to school at this moment would be Monday, May 4. 

This is tentative as it still remains a very fluid situation with new information coming in not just daily, but by the hour. The district continues to discuss this matter with area government and health officials and will make every decision with the health and safety of our students and staff in mind as that is our top priority.

In the meantime, I would like to provide a few more updates on exciting things that have been happening.

The district officially launched its remote learning yesterday, and I appreciate your patience while district leadership worked with our curriculum team to ensure we were able to provide educational services for all our students. We don’t want to leave any of our students behind while they are learning from home, so we worked to find a solution we felt included all students by providing both online options directly from your teachers or paper copies of lessons. We delivered more than 5,500 packets to families on Day 1! A big thank you goes out to our Curriculum & Instruction team for all their efforts in making both online learning and the paper materials a possibility for our students to learn.

We will begin delivering technology devices to students later this week so look for that information in your email and on social media. If any of your students reach out to you and do not have access to an electronic device or Internet, please ask them to use one of the links below to apply for technology assistance:

Much remains to be learned about COVID-19. There are no cases where the virus seems to have been transmitted through the mail, and preliminary evidence suggests the virus can only live on surfaces like cardboard for 24 hours and approximately 2-3 days on plastic. This means that with some very basic sanitation protocols, any risk of homework packets themselves transmitting the virus can be minimized. We are following the CDC and TEA recommended practices for interactions and paper distribution/collection. There will be at least 72 hours (probably closer to a week) between packet collection and availability to teachers. Teachers do not have to take papers back to their homes, they can use the administration or campus buildings to grade papers. The district can provide gloves as well if needed. Please refer to the Remote Learning Guidelines for additional information and alternatives to grading paper-based learning plans. We recommend that if you do not want to physically receive and grade returned paper-based learning packets that you arrange with your families to collect the paper-based learning packets via MMS. Sending images via MMS typically does not require Internet access, so this may work for a number of families and a number of assignments.

Paper-based learning plans will be available for pick-up at district meal locations on Mondays or anytime at newspaper stands located at the PfISD Administration Building, 1401 W. Pecan. The paper-based learning plans can be returned for grading and feedback at any meal pickup site the following week. We have asked that anyone who needs to access our paper-based learning plans, to please let their campus teachers know so they can develop a plan to monitor this instruction.

Another exciting addition we have made this week was PfISD and Aramark began providing hot meals to our students for dinner in addition to breakfast and lunch. Yes, hot meals! During lunch pickup times, Aramark will provide food with instructions for proper warming/cooking for dinner that night. I’m so happy we can provide this additional meal service to our students during this time. Although the dinners are not available at Kelly Lane Middle School due to USDA regulations, all other nine locations will have dinner available.

I thank you for your continued passionate service toward the education of our students. The decision to close schools is never made lightly, and we know the impact of this closure is far-reaching. Any decisions made are based upon the current reality of COVID-19 activity and the recommendations and information provided by government and health officials. We will always place the safety and well-being of our students and staff as the first priority. 

Please continue to monitor our website for further information and updates,

We are all in this together as one big Pfamily and we will continue to passionately serve in the best interest of students in PfISD.

Thank you,

Dr. Doug Killian
PfISD Superintendent of Schools