July 24, 2020
Dear Aristoi Community,
The administrators, faculty, and staff have appreciated your patience and support as we have investigated the safest course to provide your child with
an academically challenging Classical Liberal Arts education
this fall in light of the challenges we have faced. We understand that you have many questions regarding your child’s return to school and we are humbled by the trust you have placed in us by enrolling your children at Aristoi.
Governor Abbott has directed school districts and charter schools to re-open for in-person instruction this fall, as well as offer parents the option for online instruction. The TEA further mandated that in-person instruction must follow a Monday through Friday schedule for kindergarten through 8
Schools have been provided with some flexibility as to the date they will open their campuses for in-person learning. We understand that the situation with COVID-19 is still evolving and that this has created uncertainty for our Aristoi families as well as our faculty and staff. We’re thankful that so many of you have shared your opinions in our summer surveys and we’ll ask you to do so once again before the end of this month.
Just today, the Harris County Health authority ordered schools to stay closed to in-person instruction until September 8, 2020. More information is likely to be forthcoming by early next week. Our school board will hold a special meeting on Monday, July 27, to re-evaluate all of the information available at that time and to consider any changes that need to be made to our schedule or our other plans for the fall. We want to be sure that our Aristoi community is safe while pressing forward to meet the educational needs of our students.
On July 21
the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released guidelines to assist public schools in reopening on the TEA COVID-19 website
TEA School Re-opening
Below is general information about the start of school and attached is more detailed information on how we will safeguard the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
- Aristoi will use our school board adopted calendar for 2020-21 with the exception of a likely delay in the opening of the campus to in-person instruction in light of today’s order from Harris County, plus the addition of school days at end of the calendar year to accommodate any COVID-19 makeup days. (Click on Elementary - Katy and Upper School academic calendar; Click on: Elementary - Cypress School academic calendar). Our hours of operation for all three campuses will stay the same (Elementary - Katy school hours are 7:45 AM - 3:00 PM; Upper School hours are 8:00 AM - 3:15 PM; Elementary - Cypress school hours are 8:00 AM - 3:15 PM).
- Although the board approved a start date of August 17 for both on-campus and online learning, the board will discuss on Monday the latest developments from local and state authorities. Once on-campus classes begin, the school will operate with multiple safety protocols and COVID-19 prevention measures.
- Our on-campus learning is face-to-face classroom instruction with our Aristoi teachers. Our IT team has secured the learning management systems (LMS), Canvas and Seesaw, for Upper School and Elementary respectively. These systems can also be utilized as an online resource that provides a platform for continuous learning should there be any interruptions in on-campus learning due to COVID-19. Daily attendance is taken at the regularly scheduled time each day.
- Our online learning option is referred to by the TEA as “remote asynchronous instruction” which will provide students with either lessons recorded by our teaching staff (not requiring the instructor and student to be engaged at the same time) or live, real-time instruction with our teachers during regularly scheduled class time through technological devices. Our online students will receive teacher communication and support. This type of instruction may include various forms of digital and online learning, such as pre-recorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own, and pre-assigned work and formative assessments made available to students on paper. Teachers will also offer livestream support each week.
- Attendance for on-campus students will be taken at the regularly scheduled time during class time. Attendance for online students will be taken based upon their activity in the LMS, daily progress via teacher-student interactions, or completion/turn-in of assignments from student to teacher (potentially via email or online).
- Please let us know through the July 29 survey whether your child will be attending school on-campus when the authorities give us clearance or if your students will be participating in the online program through at least the first nine weeks.
- Please let us know if your child is in need of a device and/or internet access on the July 29th survey. Please fill out the survey and submit it by August 3, 2020.
- Students who selected on-campus or online learning will be allowed to change their selection at the end of each nine-week grading period.
- A student is considered absent in the online learning option if the student does not have documented engagement in Canvas or Seesaw and/or daily contact with the teacher, and/or documentation of completion of daily assignments.
- Students enrolled in the online learning option follow the same grading guidelines as those receiving in-person instruction. Teachers will follow the parent/student handbook policies and guidance on effective grading practices to ensure that grading guidelines are followed in both instructional models. There are no changes to the Aristoi grading guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Counselors are also available to support students and families in the online learning environment.