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“Our hope is to be back in school once the closing period has lifted…”
On Friday, March 13, the University Interscholastic League announced the suspension of all UIL Contests.
“To support the health and safety of our students and communities, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) is suspending all UIL sanctioned contests due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Texas,” the press release read.
To be effective on Monday, March 16, competition was pronounced suspended through March 29. However, rehearsals and practices could be held at the discretion of the local school district.
“We are urging our member schools and their communities to stay vigilant and take every possible precaution to remain safe and healthy,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said. “We understand there is a lot of uncertainty during this unprecedented time. Please know UIL leadership is working diligently to adjust to this rapidly evolving situation and will share updates as soon as possible.”
However, on Monday, March 16, UIL extended the suspension beyond contests to include all rehearsals, practices and workouts. With the suspension taking immediate effect, it was also noted that Governor Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty and their families,” Governor Abbott said. “We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19.”
Again, on Thursday, March 19, UIL released an additional statement extending the suspension of all contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts declaring Monday, May 4 as the “earliest time games and contests may resume.”
“Prior to this date, the UIL will allow its member schools a reasonable acclimation period for rehearsals and practices to occur,” the statement read. “All decisions remain flexible and will be consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials.”
Dr. Breithaupt also spoke out saying, “We are working diligently on contingency plans to conduct state championships in each of the activities that have been suspended. While the immediate future is unclear, we are committed to providing these much-desired activities to all Texas students and will prepare for all possible outcomes, including extended school closures.”
Additionally, on the same day, Post ISD announced the cancellation of school through April 3, extending the Spring Break period by an additional two weeks.
The following Monday morning, March 23, Post administration gathered in the high school commons to discuss a game plan for classwork and meal delivery.
It was decided that the resolution to pay at will employees would be passed.
Also announced was the resignation of Coach Vega.
“We’re hoping for a short closure, but we’re planning for a long one,” Superintendent Heath Dickson said.
After the meeting, Post ISD sent out a voice message to Post ISD families which proclaimed that they would begin online learning and meal delivery as of Monday, March 30.
It was also announced that an online survey was posted to the school website, asking families questions such as whether they needed meal delivery, whether the student had availability to internet access and for accessible addresses and phone numbers so that teachers could effectively correspond with the student.
During the cancellation, the cafeteria is required to provide breakfast and lunch every Monday through Friday. In the meal delivery program, teachers’ aides and bus drivers are to deliver meals to households that require it. Any child from the ages of one to eighteen is eligible for meal delivery.
The school additionally said that they would provide all students with a school-issued computer with computer pickup times listed for each campus. When picking up computers, individuals were told to remain in their vehicle and that a staff member would bring the computer to their car. For students without access to Wi-Fi, the school is looking to set up internet hubs.
Special education services as well as admission, review and dismissal (ARD) will continue.
Also on the voice message, Dickson reminded that the school district’s plan is to ready students for next year and to hopefully resume school shortly.
“We will be focusing on concepts that your student will need to know for next year to be successful,” Dickson said. “Our hope is to be back in school once the closing period has lifted. If it is extended, then we will continue with the online learning through the end of the scheduled year which will end May 22.”
Finally, Dickson reassured that the school district, administrators and teachers will continue to be there for both parents and their students during this current trial.
“I want you to know that we will work with you and your student to get through this challenging situation,” Dickson said. “Please call if you need anything. Thanks for all you do.”