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Frequently Asked Questions

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This page contains the most Frequently Asked Questions that we have answers to at this time. We are continuing to develop responses to the significant number of questions we have received. As we develop responses to them, we will add them to this page. Please check back frequently. 
 
Please use the drop-down arrows below to expand each section. Have additional questions? Please send them to communications@comalisd.org

General Health & Safety Guidelines

Health screener submissions will be checked daily to determine if an individual must be sent home and when they are allowed to return according to criteria established by TEA. In addition, there will be specific information delivered to impacted individuals, buildings and general communication to the campus as required by TEA. Information about the number of current open cases on each campus will be found on the District COVID-19 Active Case Dashboard.
Any student who presents with symptoms during the day will be screened by the campus nurse and, if needed, moved to the identified isolation area on campus to wait for parent/guardian pick up. The Comal ISD Case Management Process will be implemented which includes communication to parents about criteria to return to the building as well as communication to the campus community. 
UPDATED 10.9.20
Comal ISD will apply TEA guidelines as part of the COVID-19 Case Management Process. Once a case has been confirmed that impacts the campus, all staff and families will be notified of the case.

Individuals who have had close contact with someone who has a lab-confirmed case must stay home for the virus incubation period of 14 days before returning. They will then be screened for symptoms before being allowed back on campus following the 14 day period.
 
BEGINNING OCT 19 Close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 is defined as:
  • being directly exposed to infectious secretions (i.e. being coughed or sneezed on); or
  • being within six feet for a largely uninterrupted period throughout the course of a day totaling approximately 15 minutes. If both individuals are properly masked, they are not considered to be in close contact.
 
Properly Masked includes:
  • both individuals are wearing a medical or non-medical grade disposable or cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose
  • both individuals are wearing the face covering for the entire duration of the contact time period
  • Face shields (when worn alone) and neck gaiters do not eliminate an individual from being considered a close contact
 
It may be impractical for students to wear face coverings while participating in some activities such as: eating or drinking, actively exercising, or engaging in athletic or other extra-curricular activities. In these situations, anyone within six feet for more than 15 minutes will be considered a close contact and will need to quarantine for the 14-day viral incubation period.
 
If an individual develops symptoms during that time, they should seek medical attention and inform their doctor of their status as a close contact to a lab-confirmed individual. They will still be required to remain off campus for the duration of the 14-day incubation period as COVID-related symptoms may begin to develop or worsen at any point during that timeframe, despite receiving a negative test result.
 
It is possible that dividers may be used in some locations, but we are not planning to place Plexiglas between all desks. Classrooms will be set up in way that maximizes the available space in the room to allow for as much distance as possible. If it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of distance, desks will all face the same direction. 
Yes, teachers will spray down desks, tables and other commonly touched surfaces with a peroxide-based cleaning solution that dries in five minutes between each class period and at the end of each day. All products used are safe and meet CDC specifications. 
Classrooms will be set up in way that maximizes the available space in the room to allow for as much distance as possible. If it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of distance, desks will all face the same direction. 
Each campus will work at least two scheduled hand washing times into their normal daily schedule. In addition, hands will be washed before and after eating; after exercise, PE or Athletics class; when returning indoors from recess and after restroom use. Hand sanitizer will be readily accessible throughout the building and used when moving between classrooms, when entering the building, after using shared classroom items, and when entering or leaving common spaces such as the library or cafeteria. 
In addition to having staff actively monitoring hallways, entrances and exits during all transition times, schedules will be adjusted to stagger release into hallways to avoid congestion, social distancing reminders will be placed throughout the campus to remind students to maintain 6 feet of separation, and line up areas (cafeteria checkout, library, etc.) will be marked in 6 feet increments. 
In accordance with TEA guidelines, all staff, students and visitors will be required to complete a health screener before entering the building to verify the absence of COVID-19 related symptoms and that they have not been in contact with anyone who has tested positive within the last 14 days. Staff, students and visitors can complete the digital health screener or complete a paper copy of the screener in the front office of each campus.
No, we will not be taking temperatures of students as they enter the building.
Every classroom has had wall-mounted hand sanitizer station installed. In addition, sanitizer stations will be placed at all building entranced and throughout the hallways. Sanitizer use will be supervised at the elementary level to ensure student safety. 
Will face coverings be required?
Face coverings must be worn in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order:  
 
    • All staff will be required to wear a face covering or face shield when distancing measures cannot be maintained. 
    • All students for whom it is developmentally appropriate, regardless of age or grade, are required to wear a face covering when social distancing requirements cannot be maintained.  
    • All visitors must wear a face shield or face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained 
 
As with all our health and safety guidelines, plans are subject to change with any updated state and local requirements that may be issued. 
 

Why is it important to wear our face coverings?

The use of a face coverings minimizes the risk of viral spread on campus which reduces the number of positive cases we will see stem from exposure on campus. Face coverings are critical in common areas of the building where an individual may cough or sneeze, and another individual may come in contact with respiratory droplets. When combined with frequent cleaning practices and good hand hygiene practices, face coverings are our best defense in keeping our schools open.
 
Will teachers wear face coverings while teaching?
Yes, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order all staff members will be required to wear a face covering when social distancing (i.e., 6ft of separation) is unable to be maintained. 
 
Will the school supply face coverings?
A supply of face coverings will be available for staff and students who may forget theirs at home, but staff and students will be encouraged to supply their own. 
 
How will the campus enforce the wearing of face coverings?
We realize that enforcement will be difficult. However, we believe that everyone taking a sense of ownership in and engaging in the wearing of face coverings will allows us to have on-campus instruction consistently. 
 
Will Special Education students with disabilities be required to wear face coverings?
In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, there are exemptions for medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a face covering. 
 
Are face shields an acceptable face covering?
TEA has defined face coverings as any non-medical or medical grade disposable face mask or cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose. Full-face shields that protect the eyes, nose and mouth and extends below the chin may be used in addition to a cloth face covering, but not as a replacement for the cloth face covering.
 
If Governor Abbott changes the face covering requirement will the district continue to mandate them?
As new guidance and orders are provided by the State, Comal ISD will review these and make any adjustments as needed given the current situation. 
 
At what times of the day will students be allowed to take off their face coverings?
Students will be allowed to remove face coverings at any time that social distancing can be maintained, when eating or drinking, or when actively exercising. 
 
How long will face coverings and social distancing guidelines be required?
Face covering and distancing guidelines are dictated by the Texas Education Agency and based on guidance from the Texas Department of State Health Services. School districts are required to comply with these measures until changed or removed by the appropriate state agency.   
 
 

On-Campus: Day-to-Day Operations

Yes, students will be able to bring their own technology to school for instructional use.
Students will still have outdoor play time each day, weather permitting. However, to maintain social distancing between classes not every class may be able to utilize the playground areas each day. Each campus will be developing a schedule for use of outdoor spaces.  
Campuses will rotate students through lunch periods to facilitate social distancing while in the serving line and seating areas. Serving and seating areas will be cleaned between lunch periods. All food served to students will be in closed containers and will be handed to students instead of available for self-service. 
Each campus will establish a schedule that allows for classes to attend specials with their assigned class groups. Specials class set up and attendance frequency will be dependent on the space capacity and class size at each campus.
Our goal is for classroom instruction to mirror previous years as closely as possible while also realizing some modifications will need to be made for safety and health. Teachers will have the flexibility within safety guidelines to provide active learning opportunities as much as possible. Music class, PE, other specials classes, and recess, etc. will still be offered, but may look different based on guidelines from the Texas Education Agency.
While interaction will be limited due to health and safety guidelines concerning exposure and spread of the virus implemented by TEA, each campus will be able to create a schedule based on their unique set up, space capacities and class sizes to utilize common areas and allow for safe interactions when possible. In accordance with TEA guidelines any student who is exposed to a lab-confirmed positive case must remain at home for 14 days, therefore interactions between groups will be limited to ensure minimal impact of a positive case. 
Common classroom supplies such as art supplies, manipulatives, etc. will be minimized to only items that can be cleaned between use. Each student will be required to have their own set of basic classroom supplies that will be stored in a closed container that can be cleaned at the end of the day.  

On-Campus: Handling Cases

Health screener submissions will be checked daily to determine if an individual must be sent home and when they are allowed to return according to criteria established by TEA. In addition, there will be specific information delivered to impacted individuals, buildings and general communication to the campus as required by TEA. Information about the number of current open cases on each campus can be found on the District COVID-19 Active Cases Dashboard.
Any student who presents with symptoms during the day will be screened by the campus nurse and, if needed, moved to the identified isolation area on campus to wait for parent/guardian pick up. The Comal ISD Case Management Process will be implemented which includes communication to parents about criteria for returning to the building as well as notification to the campus community.
UPDATED 10.9.20
Comal ISD will apply TEA guidelines as part of the COVID-19 Case Management Process. Once a case has been confirmed that impacts the campus, all staff and families will be notified of the case.

Individuals who have had close contact with someone who has a lab-confirmed case must stay home for the virus incubation period of 14 days before returning. They will then be screened for symptoms before being allowed back on campus following the 14 day period.
 
BEGINNING OCT 19 Close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 is defined as:
  • being directly exposed to infectious secretions (i.e. being coughed or sneezed on); or
  • being within six feet for a largely uninterrupted period throughout the course of a day totaling approximately 15 minutes. If both individuals are properly masked, they are not considered to be in close contact.
 
Properly Masked includes:
  • both individuals are wearing a medical or non-medical grade disposable or cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose
  • both individuals are wearing the face covering for the entire duration of the contact time period
  • Face shields (when worn alone) and neck gaiters do not eliminate an individual from being considered a close contact
 
It may be impractical for students to wear face coverings while participating in some activities such as: eating or drinking, actively exercising, or engaging in athletic or other extra-curricular activities. In these situations, anyone within six feet for more than 15 minutes will be considered a close contact and will need to quarantine for the 14-day viral incubation period.
 
If an individual develops symptoms during that time, they should seek medical attention and inform their doctor of their status as a close contact to a lab-confirmed individual. They will still be required to remain off campus for the duration of the 14-day incubation period as COVID-related symptoms may begin to develop or worsen at any point during that timeframe, despite receiving a negative test result.
Transportation
All students and staff members must wear face coverings when riding the bus as distancing measures cannot be adequately maintained.
Due to space restrictions and ridership capacities, students will likely not be able to social distance while riding the bus. When possible, parents are encouraged to take their children to school or carpool to reduce possible virus exposure on the bus.
All buses will be cleaned between routes, focusing on high-touch surfaces such as seats, door handles, steering wheels, etc. During cleaning, and when possible during transport, windows will be open to allow for additional ventilation and air flow. 
Remote Learning
The list of courses that require a student to come to campus to complete some portion of the coursework can be found here.  Students/parents should speak to the campus counselor or teacher to discuss options.
The Residence Learning Program (RLP) that students participated in last spring was part of an emergency plan. For the 2020-21 school year, students enrolled in Remote Learning will have the same coursework and expectations as the students choosing to attend on-campus instruction. Remote learning students will be accountable for daily attendance, assignments, coursework, grading, and testing just like their on-campus peers.
It is possible that a student could have a different teacher when changing from remote learning to on-campus learning and vice versa.
Yes, students will change classes as in previous years. Options of rotating teachers are being discussed and may be initiated where feasible
Students who have a doctor's note for their illness will be marked with an excused absence and thus grading policies related to excused absences will be applied. 
Similar to other students across the district, Spanish Immersion, Dual Language and CALP students will have the opportunity to select remote instruction.
We are currently gathering information from parents to determine how many students will be served in Remote Learning. This will help guide decision-making regarding separate remote teachers. 
Students who qualify for homebound-instructional arrangement/setting are served at home or hospital bedside for a minimum of four consecutive weeks as documented by a licensed physician. A student's ARD or 504 committee determines the services provided to students in this instructional arrangement/setting.  
Students who may have to stay at home for exposure will be able to return to on-campus instruction at the end of the quarantine period. 
Remote learners may receive paper assignments from teachers. 
  • PK-5: Seesaw 
  • Grades 6-12: Google Classroom or ECHO 
  • Dual Credit / Dual Enrollment: Canvas 
Teachers will communicate tutoring hours when they will be available to Remote Learners via Google Meet. 
student who is required to quarantine will not be marked absent if they participate daily in remote learning coursework.  
Yes, students who participate in remote learning and meet eligibility requirements will be able to participate in extracurricular activities, such as athletics and band. Additional details will be coming as we get closer to the start of school.
Yes, students who are in Remote Learning can return to On-Campus Instruction at the beginning of each new nine-week grading period.
Students who start with On-Campus instruction can switch to Remote Learning at any time due to COVID-19 concerns but must then stay remote for the duration of the nine-week grading period.
Per the TEA guidelines, attendance for students participating in Remote Learning can be tracked daily in the following ways:
  • Daily progress in the Seesaw, Google Classroom, or ECHO
  • Daily progress via teacher-student interactions
  • Submission of assignments from student to teacher
Yes. Details about how these services will be provided will be shared with parents prior to the start of school.
Yes, breakfast and lunch meals will be available for parents to pick up at their child’s campus. Details about how meal distribution will come prior to the start of school.
Per the TEA guidelines, all core (foundation) courses will be offered in Remote Learning. Some elective courses may have on-campus requirements if some components of the course cannot be taught virtually (e.g., welding). 
AP, Dual Credit, and Dual Enrollment courses will be available for Remote Learning. Please note that some courses may require some on-campus lab or assessment requirements.
Live synchronous lessons for Remote Learning will be scheduled during school hours. Asynchronous assignments in Seesaw, Google Classroom, or Echo may be completed after hours.
Grading & Assessment

No. In accordance with TEA guidelines, grading policies must be consistent for both remote and on-campus students. 

 

Major tests will be proctored  online during live, synchronous instructional time. Assignments that make dishonesty and cheating more difficult will be considered such as (but not limited to) open-book/resources at hand, open-ended responses, portfolios, oral assessments, performance-based tasks, etc.  
 
Course expectations will be the same for both on-campus and remote learning.
Students will be required to attend on campus or at a practicum location to complete mandatory practicum requirements that require hands-on participation or demonstration of mastery of use of specific equipment. 
Students will complete lessons delivered through SeeSaw (Elementary) and Google Classroom (Secondary). Mastery of performance-based learning standards will be assessed through student portfolios, written assessments, and/or parent-approved video submissions.
There is a list of CTE and Fine Arts courses that TEA is requiring to be on campus. Other CTE and Fine Arts courses will be offered on campus and in a virtual format. The virtual options may require an on-site component to meet TEKS. Some specific elective courses will not be able to be offered entirely remotely. These elective courses have coursework that can only reasonably be completed in person, even if some components of the course can be taught virtually (e.g., welding). These courses will be offered to remote students; however, students enrolled in these courses will be required to come to campus to complete a required assignment or project that cannot reasonably be completed remotely. 
No. A school supply list for Remote Learners will be provided by the campuses soon
[NEW] Will SACC be offered after school this year? 
Yes, although the program will look a little different than it has in the past, SACC will be offered at all elementary campuses. More details about the SACC program can be found on the SACC website.
 
[NEW] Is there an option to opt out of PE/Pre-Athletics?
TEA requirements for PE remain the same for students both on campus and learning remotely. We will be providing instruction for remote learners synchronously at the secondary level and asynchronously as the elementary level. Students may also receive PE credit in MS for dance and in HS for dance, athletics, marching band, and ROTC.
 
[NEW] How will orchestra classes be handled if opting for remote learning?
Students who take Orchestra remotely will receive instruction asynchronously and, when possible, will receive synchronous instruction.  Remote orchestra students may participate in on campus concert performances if they can attend on campus rehearsals.
 
[NEW] Will there be choir classes at the high school level and how will potential transmission of the virus be mitigated while they sing? 
Choir will be offered as a class at the middle and high school level. Students will wear a mask and face the same direction as they sing in straight lines to mitigate transmission.  They may also have class outdoors and sing in straight lines facing the same direction. 
 
What is the new timeline UIL released for marching band season?
All bands are asked to wait to start the visual/marching elements of their marching show on September 7, 2020. Summer band can continue with the dates scheduled. Summer band will look a little different but be very advantageous for our students to get a start on music and marching basics. Normally, region contest starts in October and will be delayed until December. All of the marching competitions will take place in December.
 
Will dance teams look different this year?
Dance teams should look very similar to every other season. Some campuses still need to choose teams. Once teams are selected, they may organize dance camps at the campus, during the summer, and will be able to prepare performances as they usually do. Face coverings will be part of the protocol.
 
Will choir look different this year?
Choirs will still be singing as ensembles. They will be wearing face coverings and social distancing. Body placement and spacing protocols will be in place and rehearsal lengths will be shortened.
 
Will orchestra look different this year?
Orchestra will be very close to their normal rehearsal and performance protocols with face coverings and some slight change to their musician spacing formation.
 
Will theater look different this year?
Theater will prepare plays with students wearing face coverings in rehearsal. Play performances will be similar to performances in previous years. Musicals may look different from previous performances as safe singing and distance requirements may alter the look of the production.
 
Will audiences be allowed?
Audiences will be allowed with 6 feet of social distancing between family groups who traveled together to the performance. A capacity of 50% is the limit, at this time. Additional shows may be added to accommodate patrons if needed.
 
Will Visual Art students need to bring their own supplies or will materials be shared?
Visual Art students will be provided simple supply lists to purchase their own usage that would not be shared. Classroom supplies that must be shared will be sanitized between uses.
 
 

[NEW] Is kindergarten mandatory?

No. Children who are five years of age on or before September 1 are not required to enroll in kindergarten. However, upon enrollment in kindergarten, a child shall attend school. Kindergarten students are subject to compulsory school attendance rules while they are enrolled in school. If a child has not reached mandatory compulsory attendance age (6 years old as of September 1 of the current school year) the child’s parent or guardian may withdraw the student from school, and the child will not be in violation of compulsory attendance rules. TEC §25.085, (b), (c) SAAH, Section 3, 3.5

[NEW] If I don’t send my kindergarten child to school this year, will I be able to enroll them in 1st grade next year?

Children who are 6 years old by September 1st of the school year are eligible for 1st grade. TEC §42.003(c) states that a child may be enrolled in first grade if he or she is 6 years old by the beginning of the school year, has been enrolled in a first-grade program in another state, or has successfully completed kindergarten in another state. (Kindergarten is not required under Texas law.)