Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan

The Northside Independent School District (ISD) website can be translated into other languages by clicking the “Other Languages”  button at the top of the screen. This feature allows viewers to read content in Spanish and other languages.  Northside ISD complies with federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, gender, religion, or disability. To request access to (or notify NISD regarding) online information or functionality that is not accessible, contact info@nisd.net or call the communications department at (210) 397-8550.

Introduction

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plans (ARP) Act was signed into law. In it, the U.S.  Department of Education is providing an additional $121.9 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III Fund). This legislation will award grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) for providing local educational agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. 

Texas received $11.2 billion in ESSER III funds from the Act. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will reserve the allowable 0.5% for agency administration of the formula grant grants and discretionary projects. TEA plans to budget a majority of the 9.5% discretionary set-aside to implement a series of interdisciplinary projects to continue distance learning and to upgrade remote learning resources in a variety of school settings. These projects will serve all student groups including disadvantaged populations.  The projects will incorporate various strategies through multi-tiered systems of support and research-based approaches to meeting the needs of different student populations.

The remaining funds will be used for state-level activities to address issues caused by COVID-19. Northside Independent School District (NISD) has an ESSER III allocation of $172,955,286 for the three-year period through September 2024.

This plan describes how NISD will provide a safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools (RIPICS), including those that have already returned to in person instruction. This report template complies with all reporting requirements of the ARP  Act (Public Law 117-2), the ESSER III grant terms, conditions, and assurances (CFDA  Number 84.425U), and the interim final rule established by the United States Department of  Education, 86 FR 21195.

Maintaining Health and Safety

Overview of ESSER Requirements 

As per ESSER, U.S. Department of Education, and Texas Education Agency requirements, the district’s Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan must include how it will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other school and LEA staff, and the extent to which it has adopted policies or practices and a description of any such policies or practices, on each of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) safety recommendations including: the universal and correct wearing of masks; modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding); hand washing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation; contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local,  territorial, or Tribal health departments; diagnostic and screening testing; efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible; appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies or practices; and coordination with state and local health officials

 

Public Comment & Stakeholder Input

This plan was developed in consultation with stakeholders after soliciting public comment via electronic survey, public board meeting, Federal Program Advisory Council, Northside Communication Network, and various other groups. NISD will continue to seek public input on the Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services (RIPICS) Plan.  Stakeholders consulted include, but are not limited to the following groups:  students; parents; families; school and district administrators (including special education administrators); and teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff, and stakeholders representing the interests of children with disabilities, English language learners, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, migrant students, children who are incarcerated, and other underserved students.  NISD will continue to seek public input on RIPICS. Please click this link to complete public input in English, and here for Spanish.  Below is a timeline (timeline added 9/22/21) of when stakeholder input occurred and public notice was provided:

2021-2022

ESSER III Stakeholder

 Input and/or Public Notice

Timeline

(as of 9/22/21)

Date

Type of Engagement

Northside Communications Network (NCN) Day 1 Meeting

5/4/21

Input

Northside Communications Network (NCN) Day 2 Meeting

5/5/21

Input

Article posted on ESSER III in Woods Weekly

(internal district publication emailed to all NISD staff)

5/10/21

Public Notice

ESSER III presentation to provide public notice and solicit input at the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee Meeting

5/10/21

Input

ESSER III presentation to provide public notice and solicit input at the Federal Program Advisory Committee (FPAC) Stakeholder Meeting

5/20/21

Input

Principal Meetings

5/20/21

Input

NISD Board of Trustees Academics Committee Meeting

5/21/21

Input & Public Notice

ESSER III NISD Board Resolution signed

5/25/21

Public Notice

ESSER III Public Input Survey posted on NISD “Required Postings” website 

(document posted and survey open from 5/26/21-6/17/21)

5/26/21

Input & Public Notice

Northside AFT Association stakeholders meeting

6/18/21

Input

ESSER III presentation at NISD Board of Trustees meetings

6/28/21 and  7/20/21

Input & Public Notice

Meeting to solicit student input for ESSER III application

6/29/21

Input

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Service Plan Posted on NISD “Required Postings” website

(updated posting 9/22/21)

7/26/21

Public Notice

ESSER III Plan posted on district’s “Required Postings” website

9/14/21

Public Notice

Ongoing Review & Publication of Plan

The plan is effective on July 19, 2021 and posted to the LEA website https://www.nisd.net/district/required-postings. Every six months, NISD will review the plan in accordance with the latest guidance from the CDC, state and local governments. If revisions are needed to the plan, public input will be solicited and stakeholders will be meaningfully consulted. The revised version of the plan will then be posted on the website. The chart below provides information on this ongoing process

 

Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan Review

(updated 9/23/22)

2021-2022

Year 1

Date of Initial Plan:

July 19, 2021

Six Month Review Date:

 January 2022

☐No revision needed

☐Revisions were made

2022-2023

Year 2

Six Month Review Date:

July 2022

☐No revision needed

☐Revisions were made

End of Grant Period Review Date:

 January 2023

☐No revision needed

☐Revisions were made

2023-2024

(Carryover Year)

Last required review is 9/30/2023

~Grant ends 9/30/24~

 

Maintaining Health and Safety

NISD will continue to follow the recommendations and guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as well as local public health guidance. We anticipate many changes/revisions/modifications from the TEA to these health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as we continue to utilize practicable measures, to provide the safest situation possible for our students and employees.

 

Cleaning

  • COVID-19 approved disinfectants will continue to be used in all spaces.
  • Surfaces and common spaces will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Those items to be cleaned frequently include but are not limited to doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, desks, chairs, and athletic equipment.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are placed in common areas, inside the entrance of buildings, and in classrooms.
  • Schools will have a water bottle filling station available for students.

Student Health/Health Clinics

  • If your student is sick, please keep them home.
  • Students will wash and sanitize hands often.
  • If a student is sent home from school with COVID-19 symptoms,  guidance will be given to the parent/guardian(s) explaining when the student may return to school.
  • All positive cases will be reported to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District by the district’s Health Services Department and school nurses.
  • Commonly touched areas in the school clinic will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • Schools will implement frequent hand-washing and/or hand-sanitizing opportunities.

Transportation

  • Students that are ill will not be permitted to ride the school bus.
  • Buses will be disinfected following unloading of students using electrostatic cleaners.
  • Personal protective equipment will be distributed upon request.
  • Bus staff will use gloves and eye protection when using disinfectant supplies. Gloves will be discarded after use.
  • When possible, members of the same household will be assigned the same seat.
  • The driver will maximize the circulation of outside air to the extent practicable. The opening of roof vents and windows will be utilized as weather permits.
  • Parents are encouraged to educate their students on positive behavior at bus stops, to include all general safety rules.
  • School building guidelines and disinfecting protocols will be followed.
  • Per a June 5, 2021 memorandum from the Texas Education Agency, masks and face coverings are optional on school buses.

Cafeteria

  • School cafeterias will be open to all students. Additional school-specific plans for meal services are to be followed.
  • If there is a student with allergies, arrangements will be made for the student to eat in an allergen-free zone.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Schools will offer extracurricular activities consistent with student, classroom, and school building guidelines.
  • Before and after school programs will operate when school is open to students.
  • Programs will adhere to the current public health guidance.

Athletics

Health and safety guidelines for athletics are provided by the University Interscholastic League. Information compiled for the guidelines was carefully reviewed and vetted by NISD staff.

Policies or Practices Regarding CDC Recommendations

Northside ISD is aware of the ruling on August 26, 2021, by the Texas Supreme Court that temporarily blocks San Antonio and Bexar County’s mask mandate order. After speaking with our legal counsel, we understand that this ruling does not impact other orders across the state suspending enforcement of the mask portions of GA-38. While the legal debate continues, NISD remains committed to keeping the health and safety of students, staff, and visitors to our facilities a priority.

Therefore, the temporary mask mandate unanimously approved by the NISD Board of Trustees on August  17, 2021 will remain in place. This temporary mask mandate applies to all students, staff, and visitors while indoors at all district facilities and on school buses.

We believe that we have an ethical obligation to our students and staff to keep them safe. We also believe that the universal use of face coverings prevents illness and quarantine that takes students and staff away from in-person instruction.

Universal and correct wearing of masks

  • Must cover the nose and mouth to maintain effectiveness.
  • Must be secured to minimize the need to adjust frequently.
  • Must be appropriate for school, non-offensive, not considered derogatory or otherwise disrespectful to team members or visitors and be professionally appropriate as outlined in the District’s dress code policy.
  • Should not be loose material that could get caught in machinery or cause injury.
  • Do not need to be medical grade.

Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing

  • When and if practical, classrooms, the cafeteria, and any other area should be set up for appropriate physical distancing to the extent possible. 
  • Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear masks indoors.
  • Assemblies or other congregate events are allowed. 
  • Students should have his/her own supplies.
  • Outdoor play will follow designated school health and safety protocols.

Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

  • Handwashing will be encouraged and modeled. 
  • Students wash/disinfect hands before/after physical education class.
  • Everyone will sanitize/wash hands before and after eating. 
  • Everyone will sanitize/wash hands after using the restroom.
  • Everyone will cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow, covering mouth and nose with an arm and immediately throw tissue into a trash can and wash hands with soap and water.

Cleaning and Maintaining Healthy Facilities, Including Improving Ventilation

  • Each facility must follow custodial requirements for the daily cleaning and disinfection of any portion of a facility used. The building principal or facility lead is to properly train and supervise custodial staff on implementing intensified cleaning, including of frequently touched surfaces and shared objects.  
  • Custodial training will also be provided by the OSHA Compliance Manager throughout the year.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops). Using an appropriate disinfectant, wipe down items (e.g., desks, chairs) and equipment.
  • Students will use alcohol wipes to wipe down keyboards and computer mouse after using the computer lab.
  • Ensure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning settings are maximizing ventilation.
  • Use exhaust fans in restrooms and kitchens.

Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine

  • NISD will follow the San Antonio Metropolitan Health requirements when reporting positive cases and contact tracing.
  • Students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home.
  • NISD will follow the most up to date quarantine and isolation guidelines.
  • The principal and/or the school nurse will report all positive cases to the NISD Director of Health Services.
  • Students and staff will not be required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated.

Diagnostic and Screening Testing

  • All positive results will be reported as directed.

Efforts to Provide Vaccinations to Educators, Other Staff, and Students

NISD has worked with various vaccine providers to schedule voluntary vaccination clinics to provide the COVID-19 vaccines to students, educators, other staff, and community members who elect to receive it.

Appropriate Accommodations for Children with Disabilities

  • All plans will continue to be followed for Individual Health Plans, Section 504 Individual Accommodation Plans (IAPs), and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
  • Students will continue to receive their specialized instruction and related services (if applicable) through special education teachers and related service providers.

Coordination with State and Local Health Officials

  • NISD will continue to work closely with state and local health officials to ensure the most up to date guidelines and recommendations are implemented.

 

Continuity of Services

Academic

For the 2021-2022 school year, NISD will be face-to-face, five days a week, for all students grades EE-12. In addition to the high-quality, rigorous Tier I instruction provided to all students in NISD, we are committed to bridging the learning gap created by the COVID-19 learning loss.  NISD will address Learning Loss among students and implement evidence based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students to include Accelerated Instruction that meets the HB 4545 requirements.

 

Social and Emotional Needs of Students, Staff and Families

NISD will be responsive to Social and Emotional needs of students, staff and families by providing increased access to personnel such as school counselors to respond to high risk needs.

Questions

Questions regarding this plan may be directed to your school administration. 

 

Translation Procedures

Northside ISD will take practical steps to ensure that parents, guardians, and other English Learners have access and equal opportunity to important school-wide and district-wide information. 

Procedure: As campuses or departments are in need of translated documents, please contact the Bilingual & ESL Department at 210-397-8173.  Allow two weeks for translation, depending on the size of the file.  Once documents are translated, the Bilingual & ESL Translation Point of Contact will forward the document to the requesting individual.

Examples include, but not limited to, information related to:

  • registration and enrollment in school and school programs  
  • grievance procedures and notices of nondiscrimination  
  • language assistance programs  
  • parent handbooks  
  • report cards  
  • gifted and talented programs  
  • student discipline policies and procedures  
  • magnet and charter schools  
  • special education and related services, and meetings to discuss special education parent-teacher conferences  
  • requests for parent permission for student participation in school activities
  • campus newsletter

Non-examples include, but not limited to, information related to: 

  • classroom worksheet
  • books 
  • materials bought online  
  • Teacher Pay Teachers materials  
  • documents for in-class or grade level use
  • lesson plans  
  • station or center activities
  • classroom newsletter
  • workbooks
  • skits
 

On an ongoing basis, Northside ISD will assess changes in demographics, types of services or other needs that may require a reevaluation of this procedure.  In addition, Northside ISD will regularly assess the efficacy of these procedures used for the delivery of language assistance.  The Northside ISD Website can be translated into other languages by clicking the “Other Languages”  button at the top of the screen. This feature allows viewers to read content in Spanish and other languages.