Superintendent discusses ‘back to school’ plan at board meeting

Ashley Inge
Stephenville ISD Superintendent Matt Underwood discusses the "back to school" plan for the district.

Stephenville ISD Board of Trustees met for their monthly meeting on Monday evening and discussed the “back to school” plan for SISD.

SISD Superintendent Matt Underwood addressed the board and said information would be released to the public regarding back to school and the board would meet again to approve the plan before school resumes for kindergarten through eighth grade on Aug. 12.

Parents will have the option to choose whether they want their child to attend face-to-face classes or utilize the virtual learning component.

After sending out a survey to parents and students asking how the district could do better with their virtual learning, students said they wanted more interaction from their teacher and they wanted to see their teacher instructing more.

Students will now have two options regarding instruction in virtual classes: Zoom into the class live or watch instruction videos after they are uploaded to a server.

Underwood said the district is also working out a plan to incorporate more virtual extracurricular activities.

“Our thought was, if you don’t feel safe enough to come to school during the day, how do you feel safe enough to come to extracurricular activities? The way we looked at that is, the more we offer virtually and the more students that are able to take that option, the fewer kids you’re going to have at our school so that’s going to allow for more social distancing,” he said.

Underwood said what bothers him the most as a parent is forcing students to wear masks during an eight-hour school day.

“I remember when I was a kid, my mom and dad used to want me to wear a face mask when we were doing work in the pen and I couldn’t stand it; it drove me crazy,” he said. “When we look at this environment, we picture it as what we do with face masks. We go shopping, we go to Walmart, we come back out. We go to a restaurant, take it off, eat, put it back on. We’re asking kids that are 10 years old, 16 years old to wear a mask all day long and not many of us do that. If you’re going to sit in a classroom full of students, that's asking a lot of a child and I think that’s going to be our biggest hurdle to overcome.”

The SISD Board of Trustees will have a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6, to discuss final plans regarding back to school.