Harrell: UCISD should not have to make up time

Melissa Federspill

Staff writer

Approximately 4,000 Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District students will begin their second week of distance learning tomorrow, as campuses are slated to remain closed until April 6.

We are in unprecedented times, said UCISD Superintendent Hal Harrell during a special board meeting held Wednesday evening, when he discussed the implications of the closure on students and staff.

Currently, the district is ensuring learning continuity through a variety of platforms, including online instruction and printed instruction. The district is also providing meals to students.

On Tuesday, through curbside service, the district distributed approximately 3,200 instructional packets to students, and 27,700 meals, according to a recent press release.

Also, in an approximate 72-hour period spanning Friday to Monday, the district launched an online resource for home learning, where families with internet service can access assignments for their students.

Because of implementing these measures and by continuing student instruction the district will not be required to make-up any lost class time, Harrell said Wednesday.

State testing has also been waived, as executed by Governor Greg Abbott on Monday.

With this measure, seniors who might have needed a STAAR retest to meet graduation requirements will be referred to an individualized graduation committee, Harrell said.

The committee will consist of a team of six Uvalde High School staff members, including a school administrator, department head, counselor, academic dean; college, career, military readiness coordinator; and senior sponsor. They will work with students in creating a project that is in lieu of the STAAR exam.

He said that as long as the student has all the credits they need for graduation and are approved by the individualized graduation committee, they will be allowed to graduate.

As far as final grades and grade level advancement, Harrell said that per Texas Education Agency guidelines, the district will develop a matrix to evaluate each student from where they were at the end of their attendance, how they were performing, and make a good recommendation for making their advance to the next grade level.

He said the district had completed third quarter grades before spring break, something other districts are now struggling with. However, he said, any celebratory activities such as ceremonies and prom, are on hold until further notice.

To keep everyone engaged, and to address any issues, Harrell said teachers and administrators are holding virtual meetings twice a week. Furthermore, teachers are also reaching out to students via telephone and email, and they are utilizing Google classroom.

On Tuesday, the district will pass out instruction packets to students, and meal packs for the week, using last week’s implemented procedures.

In their action, the board also approved a resolution delegating authority to the superintendent to act in place of the board of trustees in an emergency closure.

“The resolution will allow the district to continue to pay employees during the time the students are not on the campus….,” Harrell said. The resolution also allows Harrell to exercise purchasing procurement, as they move forward in the closure.

All board members were present for the meeting. No date was set for the next meeting.

mfederspill@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335

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