Fall Update
July 20, 2020
Dear Wonderful Lovejoy Community,

We thank you for your feedback and encourage you to continue to send questions regarding the 2020 - 2021 School Year or Fall Planning Guide through  the form provided. Utilizing this form will help ensure your items are addressed in future communications and updates.

Why did Lovejoy ISD change the start of the school year to 3 weeks of virtual learning?  

We know the majority of our Lovejoy community prefers On-Campus learning. While our over 600+ employees want nothing more than to welcome all of our Leopards back On-Campus, our first commitment is to provide instructional continuity while ensuring the safety of all of our students, families, and Lovejoy employees. We will continue to keep the safety of our students, staff, and community at the forefront as we monitor any needed adjustments to the extension of the three weeks of virtual for all students. 

The decision to start virtually the first three weeks of school was not easy nor taken lightly. Several factors were considered in our decision to move instruction virtually for (at this point) the first three weeks of the year:

  • COVID-19 can infect people of all ages, and asymptomatic spread can occur. We continue exploring and planning all feasible options to keep students, teachers, staff, and community safe. 

  • Current TEA guidelines require students and staff who have been in “Close Contact” with a COVID positive case to be quarantined for 14 days. If you think of this in terms of a school that is unable to guarantee 6-foot social distancing in all situations, classes of students or even multiple classrooms may be subject to quarantine periods at any given time. Lovejoy ISD must guarantee instructional consistency and ensure that students can quickly move between virtual and On-Campus learning.

  • In addition, we also know that thresholds of viral spread can cause sections of a building, a campus, or even the district to close physically, requiring a pivot to virtual instruction. Starting the first few weeks online will help ensure instructional consistency for our students, parents, and teachers, while positive cases continue to rise in our area and throughout the state.

  • If there is substantial transmission in the local community, local health officials may suggest extended school dismissals (e.g., dismissals for longer than two weeks). This longer-term, and likely broader-reaching, dismissal strategy is intended to slow transmission rates of COVID-19 in the community.

  • Per CDC guidance, schools may need to temporarily dismiss school for 2-5 days, if a student or staff member attended school before being confirmed as having COVID-19. This initial short-term dismissal allows the local health officials to understand the COVID-19 situation impacting the school and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities. Work with the local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19.

  • Unlike some other school districts, Lovejoy ISD will maintain our school start date of August 17. Pushing the beginning of the school year would have required that Lovejoy ISD either alter breaks in the already approved 2020 - 2021 calendar or extend the last day of school beyond its original date to ensure the district was compliant with state instructional minutes. 

Please know that we have heard our community's preferences and know that virtual learning is not the preferred method of education for a majority of our families. We want to be back together, but when it is safest for us all to return. 

While we are committed to ensuring our On-Campus experience is as safe as possible, we are also committed to providing robust virtual instruction, as evidenced by ensuring all of our teachers are certified as TCEA Remote Learning teachers. This will not only help us start the school year strong, but will enable those who chose to learn from home to have a similar experience to those students who are on-campus, and prepare all of our students, teachers, and families to pivot instruction virtually as deemed necessary throughout the school year. 

Selection for Fall Preferences 
We know the landscape is quickly changing regarding the Fall. If parents can please indicate their preference for learning choice as soon as they feel comfortable, we will be able to use it to plan class schedules and classroom lists.

Clarification Planning Guide Document  
We have made a few updates to the Planning Guide document and have provided an updated link in this newsletter and updated the document version indicated as 7/20/20.

Masks - 
We have revisited our wording and have made updates/corrections to the following statements:
  • Page 35 - Students in fifth through twelfth grades will wear face coverings while at school. PK-4 students will wear face coverings during entering/exiting buildings, walking to/from classrooms in the hallway, etc. (Updated: 7/20/2020) 
  • Page 39 - Students will wear masks to/from outdoor activities and maintain social distancing. (Updated 7/20/20)
Sample Instructional Schedules - 
  • Page 12 - We have made some changes to the Sloan Creek IS sample schedule to reflect ELA and Math flipping for 6th Grade and 6th Grade GT courses.
As we continue to receive updates throughout the week, we will continue to keep you informed!
Michael Goddard, Ed.D. 
Superintendent of Schools
Lovejoy Independent School District

Follow Dr. Goddard on Twitter @drmike_goddard.
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