Victoria Independent School District

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COVID-19 District Updates

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District Updates:
August 5, 2020 Update
Letters from the Superintendent to VISD Staff and parents/students:

Event Cancellations

All district events and extracurricular activities are cancelled until the District returns to face-to-face instruction or further notice. This includes all district-sponsored UIL, athletics, fine arts, clubs, and group events or ceremonies.

Face to Face Instruction Suspended for Remainder of School Year
 
Today Governor Abbott announced schools across the state will not return to face-to-face instruction for the remainder of this school year. Victoria ISD will continue supporting our students in families during this time. We will remain flexible as we continue to respond and adapt to ensure student learning, using the remote learning plans that were implemented a few weeks ago.
 
Meal and mental health services will also remain in place. We are also working on plans for graduation and will announce that when we have details finalized.
 

Students’ safety and learning are always top priorities in Victoria ISD. Simply put, thank you. We know this is a time of great stress. Your support of our students and staff during this challenging time has been remarkable and greatly appreciated. We are grateful for your patience, sacrifice, trust, and collaboration as we all navigate this as one unified VISD family and community. Please know you have our commitment to continue to serve and support your children however we can.

Victoria ISD continues to actively monitor the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in conjunction with local and federal health authorities. While the district is closed, VISD emergency and essential personnel for this evolving situation continue to consult with local health authorities and to convene virtually and regularly in order to conduct a full and ongoing assessment of risks for students and staff. As always, the safety of our students, staff, and families remains a top priority, and we will act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing.
 
Currently, VISD has closed schools and suspended normal operations for an undetermined length of time. This includes District playgrounds, tracks, outdoor basketball courts, etc. This suspension of normal school operations, taken in conjunction with surrounding districts, is in support of the Nation’s effort to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined the need for all communities to implement a social distancing protocol.The District will remain flexible as leaders plan for long-term delivery of instruction and continue to navigate the many details of this unprecedented situation.  

The Victoria ISD response to the (COVID-19) pandemic will enter a new phase when we begin providing some student services while our buildings are closed. 
We want to provide an update to our families and staff about what services will look like starting March 23.

CONTINUATION OF LEARNING WHILE FACE-TO-FACE INSTRUCTION IS SUSPENDED
Here’s what teaching and learning will look like next week for teachers, students, and families:

  • On Monday, staff will report to work according to the guidance provided by Administration and their campus principal or department supervisor. Our curriculum teams and principals will begin setting up virtual learning for teachers. VISD wants to ensure we are doing our part to follow social distancing guidelines from health officials. Employees will be mindful of physical distancing and follow guidance about groups of 10 or less. If feasible, staff can work remotely. Teachers will work remotely once it has been determined they have the necessary tools, training, and curriculum in place. 
  • During the week of March 23,  we are asking teachers and teams to reconnect with students and families to share plans for learning.
  • Students will begin remote learning the week of March 30. If you are in need of a device and/or internet access for your child during remote learning, visit the Technology Update page.

Our Special Services team will be working with campuses to support the needs of all students. 

Victoria ISD has been working closely with the Victoria County Public Health Department and Victoria Office of Emergency Management to monitor the rapidly changing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation. The following update was provided by Superintendent Shepherd on VISD's plans to continue student learning in the coming weeks.

Face-to-Face Instruction Suspended
As a result of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the region and recommendations of social distancing from our local health officials, VISD is taking precautionary measures against transmission of the virus. Face-to-face instruction has been suspended at all campuses for an undetermined amount of time. This affects all programming at the school, including before and after-school activities, all athletic and extracurricular practices and competitions, and weekend events. This is a situation we have never faced before. VISD staff will be developing what this will look like for our students. It could be instructional materials and packets sent home, online instruction, a combination, or other distance learning scenario. Staff will return to work on Monday, March 23, working diligently through the week on planning. Our goal is for students to transition back into learning on Monday, March 30.

Free Meals for Students
While face-to-face instruction is suspended, VISD will provide free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for all students at six distribution sites: Aloe Elementary, Crain Elementary, Hopkins Elementary, Rowland Elementary, Shields Elementary, and Stroman Middle School. Each site will have breakfast available from 7:30-9:30 and lunch from 10:30-12:30 Monday through Friday, beginning Monday, March 23rd.

District Events and Extracurricular Activities Cancelled
Effective immediately, all district events and extracurricular activities are cancelled until the District returns to face-to-face instruction or further notice. This includes all district-sponsored UIL, athletics, fine arts, clubs, and group events or ceremonies.

STAAR and End-of-Course (EOC) Testing
Governor Abbott has announced requirements for STAAR and EOC testing for students will be waived this year. However, districts must determine guidelines for student grade level advancement and graduation requirements in the absence of the state testing. Additional information on this will be provided when the District has finalized those details.

The COVID-19 virus is thought to be spread via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge you to speak to your child about the following prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom and before preparing or consuming food. Using soap and hot water, wash for about 20 seconds. Be sure to also wash your fingertips.
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air. Always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your arm.
  • As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Stay home if you are sick.


The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the regular seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing. Some people with coronavirus have reported additional symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some situations, the virus can develop into pneumonia. It is believed the seasonal flu vaccine does not provide protection against coronavirus.

Individuals who need medical care should call their medical providers to report their illness prior to seeking care at a clinic, physician’s office, or hospital.

 

photo of Dr. Shepherd

Students,

I am sorry. As I have watched the events over this past week unfold and levels of concern (and fear) grow at an increasing rate, I have tried to think of what we could say to you. I write this on behalf of your Trustees, your administrators and your teachers. We know many of you look to us (your teachers, counselors and administrators) for guidance. We know you also look to parents, your families and your community in times of crisis. The truth is, we are trying hard to find concrete answers and we are learning as we go. I am sure you have heard and seen the experts who are saying “close schools” and why we need to “shut down.” Other experts are saying not to close until we have more concrete information. You have heard everyone say we are making decisions with your safety as our highest priority and that remains true.

What you have not heard is an apology. This apology is in recognition that you are sacrificing so much that you have worked so hard for. You work hard in practices, games, programs, performances, events and of course – school. You do not want these things to be put on hold, I know that. There are things you will never again get to do and I know this. We feel your sorrow deeply in our hearts and share in your disappointment.

There is no greater joy for a superintendent, a teacher, an administrator and a District Trustee than to see our students excel at what they love to do.

So, I am asking you to just sit tight and be strong. Your teachers and parents have worked hard to teach you about leadership, how to deal with adversity, how to persevere and how to be resilient. Right now, we are asking you to put all of what you have learned into practice. In life, we grow the most when we struggle. We do not grow when times are easy. Struggle gives us the chance to reach new levels. Are things going to remain the same moving forward? No. Will we have the same goals? No. Do we know the path forward? No. Is this going to be easy for anyone? No. We will be better, stronger, smarter, more resilient in the end… Yes.

Know this… we are, and always will be, VISD Proud of you. Hang in there. We’ve got this.

 Q. Shepherd

We are monitoring the situation involving a positive COVID-19 case with connections to our nearby community. Currently, VISD has not made any changes as a result of this development. However, as we receive additional information and guidance from our local health officials, we will provide any necessary updates.
Victoria ISD continues to closely monitor the potential impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the community. The district has not experienced any active cases of COVID-19.

At this time, we are reminding all Victoria ISD students, families, and staff to take extra precautions if traveling during Spring Break. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and US Department of State provide country-specific travel guidelines and information. Because this situation is changing rapidly, before you travel, we encourage you to check the websites to find updated guidance for your destinations, as well as for those countries you may travel through on the way to your destinations.

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

US State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-3-health-advisory-issue.html

As always, the safety of our students, staff and families remains a top priority, and we will act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and well-being. Anyone who travels during Spring Break should self-monitor their health for two weeks after returning home. During that time, if you feel sick with fever (100.0 degree temperature or higher), cough, and/or difficulty breathing, stay home and contact your health care provider or the local health department. Your doctor or the local health department will provide additional guidance based on an evaluation of symptoms.

Additionally, as is our common practice, all campuses and buses will be deep cleaned during Spring Break. The district will continue to communicate the importance of frequent hand washing, covering a cough or sneeze, not touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home when ill.

With the help of all of our families and our staff, we will work to keep our students healthy and safe.

Victoria ISD continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and is in regular communication with local health officials, along with following developments through the Texas State Health Department (DSHS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We will act out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. Currently, the Victoria County Public Health Department says the immediate risk in our area remains low.

Families and staff who plan to travel during Spring Break are advised to take extra precautions. Because this situation is changing rapidly, before you travel, we encourage you to check the CDC website to find updated guidance for your destinations as well as for those countries you may travel through on the way to your destinations. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.

We will continue to receive information from public health authorities about COVID-19. Based on current information, basic health practices can protect against the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol–based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when sick;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Additional information regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus can be found by visiting the CDC website.

Additional Resources: