Message from Dr. Goddard
August 6, 2020
Dear Wonderful Lovejoy Community,
I am beyond excited that there are only 11 more days until school officially starts in Lovejoy ISD. Our entire Lovejoy ISD team has been working hard virtually to prepare to welcome our students and families back!

We wanted to provide some answers to a few district-wide frequently asked questions, share information regarding the Special Board meeting on August 4, and invite you to join us this Saturday, August 8 for a virtual question and answer webinar!
Frequently Asked Questions
How are decisions made regarding school environments and the start of school?
All decisions are made (as per our typical decision-making process) with a focus on the safety of our Lovejoy Community, ensuring instructional continuity / excellence and adherence to guidance from multiple agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas Education Agency (TEA), as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The TEA provided the learning environments that would comply with funding requirements. The TEA Commissioner granted the latitude for Superintendents to enable virtual learning for the first three weeks of school, while virus counts in Texas continued to increase.
Are districts able to open in-person “normally” 5 days a week and meet TEA requirements?
School districts are not able to open “normally.” Districts must follow public health guidance from various authorities, including CDC, TEA, EEOC, as well as comply with the Governor’s executive orders. 
For K-8 students, On-Campus instruction five days a week is required for districts to receive funding for online instruction, and it is mandated that we also offer a virtual option. For 9-12th grade students, TEA recently changed its funding structures to allow high schools to offer hybrid On-Campus classes to better adhere to social distancing guidelines for high school students.
Why did Lovejoy ISD decide to do three weeks of virtual learning? 
The decision to transition the first three weeks of school virtually was made on July 15, as the District received updated information and guidelines from governing agencies such as Executive orders for masks from the Governor, operational guidelines from TEA, and public health guidance regarding increased cases in Texas.
As Lovejoy ISD received additional updates from TEA regarding ways instruction could be impacted; such as school closures and quarantine guidelines, we continued our focus to ensure all families were comfortable and able to navigate online learning successfully and facilitate transitions to online learning as needed throughout the school year.
The first three weeks of virtual learning will also ensure the District has the ability to test, practice, and train staff and students on new school procedures. 
Why/How are other districts starting in-person sooner? What are they doing when their schools have more students than ours?
There are a limited number of districts that are starting face to face instruction immediately. We know of only 3 in our area. We can not speak for those districts, but the size of facilities, numbers of students served, and other factors such as leadership transitions may factor into their ability to open and their ability to operate within the state guidelines.

What other districts are starting virtually for the first three weeks?
Just a few of the districts:
  • Richardson ISD 
  • McKinney ISD
  • Allen ISD
  • Plano ISD
  • Highland Park ISD 
  • Frisco ISD
  • Southlake Carroll (1 week)
  • Garland ISD
  • Rockwall - Delayed Start Date 
  • Coppell ISD
Are we speaking to the other larger districts and schools and getting best practices from those delaying vs. starting in-person on time? (Ex. Allen, Mckinney, Plano vs. Prosper, Wylie, Carroll)
Yes, we collaborate not only with school districts in our area but throughout our state. Additionally, we receive guidance from the Texas Education Agency twice a week, and Dr. Goddard has phone calls once a week with all Region 10 Superintendents.

Why are we doing Hybrid when others are not, in our opinion? Best practices?
The hybrid option was released as an option by TEA as an alternative to 5 days face to face instruction on July 17. As districts are working through the logistics of how to socially distance students, especially large numbers like at the high school level, you may hear of a few other districts in the area who are transitioning to this method of instruction. 
As LHS started to see the number of students who would potentially be on campus, it was evident that social distancing practices could not be followed by the number of kids planning to return to campus. Therefore, the Hybrid option was used to reduce the number of students to less than 600 per day, to adhere to social distancing guidelines and help ensure student and staff safety. 
How can we provide our community confidence that Hybrid was the best choice when a large majority wanted full in-person?
The Lovejoy team has worked tirelessly to consider all scenarios and attempted to project potential outcomes with the daily infusion of information and restrictions. We have measured each option against our student educational experiences regardless of the location where they receive the instruction. We have a model with the systemic gears in place to make sudden and frequent shifts without sacrificing continuity or quality of instruction. 
The community keeps getting different survey numbers. First, we heard it 75% wanted in-school, then we heard it was 55-45%, then it was 80% of HS parents wanted on campus. Can you provide us the appropriate data?
The Fall Planning Survey was conducted and closed on June 22, prior to TEA Guidance/ Guidelines
Lovejoy ISD then asked parents to indicate how they wanted their students to learn after TEA provided approved instructional methods (On-Campus or Leopard Virtual Learning). As parents started to indicate their choices, the High School was trending to show about 80% wanted On-Campus instruction in July.
Current parent choices indicate 62% to 69% who have selected on-campus learning. Specifically: LES 65%, HES 69%, PES 62%, SCIS 67%, WSMS 67%, and LHS 64%, as reflected in chart below.
Is the hybrid model set in stone, or can we adapt to full in-person? How are bigger HS’s accomplishing this, and we can’t? What do they know that we don’t?
This is the plan for at least the first nine-week grading period, and we will all need to re-evaluate as we approach each grading period as to what is best moving forward for the safety of students and teachers. 

We are unsure how other large high schools in the area are managing the ability to properly socially distance students if large numbers of students are returning to On-Campus Instruction. However, facility capacity may differ, which may allow them greater flexibility. 

With any indication of a positive case of Covid there will be quarantine implications for either the individual, groups, class or if significant enough the school. Thus the hybrid model enables us to mitigate an on again, off again approach that would happen if all were together all the time. This model separates the groups so that not all may be impacted with one confirmed case. 

How long do we have to go before adapting if we see low issues/cases?  
This is all dependent on the status of the virus. We want it to be safe for a return for our students and teachers, so the State mandates, as well as the current status of the virus, will determine much of the decision impact. 

Could we go to full in-person after 9 weeks, or is this model set up for full semester only – need transparency? 
Potentially. We hope the virus takes a significant turn downward, and we are able to do that. However, the state is telling us to be prepared for a second wave. 

The State has also now put the weight of future decisions on the school board after the first four weeks of the school year. All future decisions will be made and voted on by the Board of Trustees.
How many teachers overall requested not to return to the classroom?
We are extremely fortunate to have the very best teachers in Lovejoy ISD and they want to be back with our students as soon as possible. We currently have 11% of teachers who have requested to work virtually due to personal and or at-home health concerns. 

Our Lovejoy teachers love our Leopards and we do not have any that do not want to return in some capacity. 

What protections do teachers have in the classroom? Protocols, protective shields?
As defined in our Planning Guide
  • Campus staff will be trained on COVID-19 safety protocols
  • Coronavirus: Overview, Cleaning, and Disinfecting
  • Coronavirus: Managing Stress and Anxiety
  • Teachers should:
  • Eliminate communal supplies as much as possible.
  • Limit student movement within the classroom as much as possible as developmentally appropriate.
  • Outline hand washing and sanitizer protocols.
  • Ensure high-touch areas in the classroom are periodically disinfected.
  • Minimize teacher workspace to increase student work area and eliminate extraneous furniture.
  • Students should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering each classroom.
  • Students will participate in training specific to newly adopted health and safety protocols.
  • Each classroom will be outfitted with refillable hand sanitizer stations.
  • Access to disinfectant to sanitize working surfaces.
  • Desks should be spaced as far apart as much as instructionally possible. (3-6 ft) (not in groups)
  •  There is currently not a mandate and or requirement from TEA for social distancing within the classroom or requirement to lower class enrollment for social distancing. LISD will make every attempt to keep K-4 at a 22:1 ratio and 5-12 at 25:1
  • Students will avoid sharing school supplies and will sanitize shared items after each use.
  • Students are expected to bring their own reusable water bottle for use throughout the day and expected to take water bottles home to be cleaned on a daily basis.
  • All personal belongings should be labeled and go home with each student everyday.
  • Student transitions will be limited as much as possible. 

What data or sources of information have been used to drive decisions to-date? 
The Texas Department of State Health Service, Collin County Health Department, Texas Education Agency (TEA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

What is the level of infection to-date within our District?
We currently know of less than 10 people affected in our community. 

Are we tracking active cases in our District?
At this point, we are working with the Collin County Health Department and are relying on parents to self report any positive cases.

School Logistics 

What is the plan for physical layouts, barriers in classroom at different levels of school?
  • Eliminate communal supplies as much as possible.
  • Limit student movement within the classroom as much as possible as developmentally appropriate.
  • Outline hand washing and sanitizer protocols.
  • Ensure high-touch areas in the classroom are periodically disinfected.
  • Minimize teacher workspace to increase student work area and eliminate extraneous furniture.
  • Desks should be spaced as far apart as much as instructionally possible. (3-6 ft) (not in groups)
  • There is currently not a mandate and or requirement from TEA for social distancing within the classroom or requirement to lower class enrollment for social distancing. LISD will make every attempt to keep K-4 at a 22:1 ratio and 5-12 at 23:1
What is the plan for cleaning/sanitization and the budget required for this?
  • Campus staff will be trained on COVID-19 safety protocols
  • Coronavirus: Overview, Cleaning, and Disinfecting
  • Staff will have access to disinfectants to sanitize high-touch and working surfaces and shared objects frequently throughout the day.
  • Teachers will clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in classrooms between different class groups, such as door handles, common tables/desks, shared supplies, and high touch devices.
  • Students will be provided an opportunity to clean their own spaces before and after they are used, in ways that are safe and developmentally appropriate.
  • More frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common spaces and commonly touched surfaces in and around the campus will be performed throughout the day by reassigned auxiliary staff.
  • District will use the M&O custodial supply budget for cleaning and disinfecting supplies and the M&O overtime budget for increased labor.

  • How many students will be on the campus at Middle School vs. High School (Hybrid currently planned)?
  • Per parent selections as of 1:30 PM on August 4, 2020:
  • Willow Springs will have around 525 students on campus
  • LHS will have around 560 students on campus
What are the required vs. guideline protocols for positive cases at schools ?
Any individuals who themselves either: (a) are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19; or (b) experience the symptoms of COVID-19 must stay at home throughout the infection period, and cannot return to campus until the school system screens the individual to determine any of the below conditions for campus re-entry have been met:
  • In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met:
  • at least one day (24 hours) has passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);
  • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and
  • at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and who is not evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, such individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to the campus until the individual has completed the same three-step set of criteria listed above.
  • If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to school before completing the above stay at home period, the individual must either (a) obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis or (b) obtain an acute infection test at an approved testing location ( that comes back negative for COVID-19.
Additionally, individuals must report to the school system if they have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, as defined below, and, if so, must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed. In general, close contact is defined as:
  • being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or
  • being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination.
Either (A) or (B) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.
Many in Fairview and Lucas have internet issues. Anything we can do to support improving this?
On the campus technology signup forms, families were asked about their internet access reliability and functionality. For those families that reported internet issues, they were asked, “Would you like for Lovejoy ISD to attempt to connect you with other possible internet service providers for your area?” Approximately three percent of those completing the form have asked for assistance. The District’s technology department will work with area service providers to possibly improve these families’ internet performance. 
Any funding issues that we need to be aware of?
In order to receive full funding, we are required to offer in person instruction for K-8 and have the latitude to offer Hybrid for 9-12. The caveats of the funding mechanism are extremely complicated, convoluted and truly liquid - changing almost weekly. The details are certainly clarified and updated often.

The most important funding implication we can share is that we continually consider funding and our financial constraints when making decisions on the instructional setting.

The list above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of Frequently Asked Questions, but reflects questions we have received at a high frequency. Additional FAQs are updated regularly on our Fall Planning website.
Why were public comments not allowed during the August 5th Board Meeting?
The Special Meeting called on August, 4th was called for the consultation with the Board's attorney regarding the Lovejoy ISD Planning Guide 2020-2021.

The August 4th meeting for Lovejoy ISD did not contain any action items, therefore, no public comments were permitted.
Join us, Saturday, August 8th for a Virtual Saturday Morning with the Superintendent!

This Saturday, Dr. Goddard and Team will host a Virtual Saturday Morning with the Superintendent webinar to answer pre-submitted questions from our community!

We will be live streaming this question and answer session on our Facebook page and will provide a link on the front of our Lovejoy ISD webpage. Our session will run from 8:00 am - 9:00 am.

Please submit your district-wide questions for this event by Friday, August 7th by 6 pm on the form provided here.

We ask that you help us answer as many questions as possible by keeping your question brief. We will do our very best to answer as many questions as we can within the hour and those we do not have time for, we will carry them forward for another session!
We hope you can join us this Saturday!
Michael Goddard, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools
Lovejoy Independent School District

Follow Dr. Goddard on Twitter @drmike_goddard.
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