In its press release last week, Calhoun County ISD announced that campuses would open for face-to-face learning on campus in small groups on scheduled days from August 24 to September 3.

“These options give students and staff the opportunities to transition back to learning at school safely,” the district said in the press release. “Fridays will be virtual learning for all students during this time.”

Superintendent Larry Nichols talked to the Wave last Friday about the district’s announcement of having small groups return to face-to-face instruction.

“We promised our parents, students, and faculty that we would monitor local health conditions,” Nichols said.

Nichols added last week that local health conditions were “very good”, no one was admitted to the hospital for COVID for “a period of time”, and reported cases of COVID were two or three per day.

The district wanted to practice “safety procedures” by having 50 percent of the students returning to campuses, Nichols said.

“The other thing, of course, it gives students two days of face-to-face for the next two weeks,” Nichols said.

Nichols talked about three reasons that the district wanted to do this. Number one, good news based on community transmission statistics; number two, it allows more student and teacher direct interaction.

“And number three, it allows us to practice safety procedures with 50 percent of our students for two weeks,” Nichols said, “so that by that time we return to full face-to-face instruction, after Labor Day.”

Nichols went into detail of those procedures, including how to move students to lunch, to playgrounds, and to the restrooms, and how to clean the restrooms.

“We will have all those procedures practiced with a lower density of students. Then we’ll see after Labor Day, assuming health conditions allow us to do that,” Nichols said.

CCISD schedule:

- Mondays and Tuesdays (Aug. 24 to Aug. 25 and Aug 31 to Sept 1): Students whose last names are A-L attend school at their campus. M-Z will complete virtual lessons at home.

- Wednesdays and Thursdays (Aug. 26 to Aug. 27 and Sept. 2 to Sept. 3): Students whose last names are M-Z attend school at their campus. A-L will complete virtual lessons at home.

Fridays (8/28 and 9/4): All students will have virtual lessons that reinforce the weekly material. The district said by organizing the schedule alphabetically by last names, CCISD is expecting approximately half of the total student enrollment to be on campus Mondays – Thursdays.

“This plan enables campuses to better transition students and staff into the full-time, face-to-face instruction, which is expected to resume on September 8,” the district said.

CCISD said, “face-to-face students are invited to return to campus on their scheduled day,” or students may continue to complete online learning.

“Families do not need to sign up to attend school on these days,” the district said. “Campuses are prepared to be flexible, as we understand that some families may have made different plans for their children during this time period.”

The district wants to let parents understand the “option” they are announcing “is a change from what was previously discussed.”

“Calhoun County ISD is committed to the safety of our students, staff, and community,” the district said. “We are also committed to providing the best possible instruction to our families, and now it is safe to provide that instruction in-person, in small groups, with physical distancing, while continuing to carefully follow safety and sanitation protocols.”

The district said facial coverings would continue to be required for all students and staff, and they added, “Students receiving special services will continue to have individualized plans that better meet their needs.”

“Please do not hesitate to contact your campus with questions,” the district said. “We appreciate our students, parents, and staff for their flexibility and support as we transition back to school.”