The Hays Consolidated Independent School District has begun phasing students back onto campuses. Classes have been back in session since September 8, but, until now, kids have been in the virtual classroom. As districts are faced with the unprecedented challenge of mitigating the spread of coronavirus, HCISD officials believe they are well-positioned to handle the requirements of social distancing.
“We are taking the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation,” said Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright at the September 21 board meeting. “We’re going to wear masks, we’re going to separate the kids by three feet. I believe the maximum in one of our newer buildings is 18 and the minimum at one of our older campuses is 15. After we hit that ceiling of 18, we’re going to have to have a Plan B and we’ll have to have an overflow room.”
Wright says the split between in-person and virtual learning is about 50-50, so he’s confident there is plenty of space for the time being.
“I’ve talked to several of my superintendent colleagues and some districts, since they started much sooner than we did, are up to 80%, and so they’ve had some challenges with their social distancing,” Wright said. “It’ll take us maybe two grading periods before we get there, but right now we’re going to honor the social distancing as we’ve said in our plan.”
On Monday night, the HCISD school board will vote on proposals to increase teacher and faculty pay. Teachers received a 2% raise in June, and the board may vote to add another 1% on top of that. Raises bringing bus driver pay up to $17 a hour will also be discussed.
“So that our bus drivers will be adequately compensated and, hopefully, we’ll be able to recruit some bus drivers from the surrounding areas,” Wright said.