Back to school

Back to school: Back. Together. Better.

Back, together, and better than ever

At Northside ISD, we are as anxious as our students and parents to once again be back together. Guidelines are provided to help ensure a safe and healthy teaching and learning environment.

The safety of our students and staff are at the forefront of all planning. Northside is prepared to help prevent, mitigate and respond to the COVID-19 virus, and this will require our collective efforts.

NISD will continue to closely monitor the situation and take guidance from Metro Health Department, Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Center for Disease Control. But as we continue through these unprecedented times, we ask everyone to be mindful of the key preventative measures of wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands thoroughly, and staying home when sick.

Virtual Learning Hub (Schoology)

Schoology will provide you a one stop shop for viewing your student's assignments, communication with their teachers, and much more.  As a parent, you have access to view everything your student has been assigned as well as the resources needed to complete the assignment.  You will also see the feedback and assignment grades provided by the teacher. Schoology also gives you the ability to access all messages and communication from the school.  

Instructional Learning Options for 2020-2021

Commitments for In-Person Learning
  • Ensure your student is in attendance daily in order to meet the 90% attendance requirement
  • Ensure you screen your student daily and only send to school if are cleared to do so
  • Ensure students understand that they will be wearing face coverings during the day at school and adhering to the safety protocols set by the district and each campus
  • Understand that at the high school level, instruction will be provided using an alternating day hybrid model
  • Become familiar with the Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology, to provide support as needed
  • Maintain communication with your child’s teachers by phone, email, or online meetings to receive feedback on their progress and create a learning partnership
  • Ensure your child has required school supplies necessary for learning
  • Set up a Home Access Center (HAC) account to monitor grades and progress
Commitments for Virtual Learning
  • Ensure your student follows their assigned schedule and participates in all classes synchronously and asynchronously in order to meet the 90% attendance requirement
  • Ensure there is a designated learning space for your student at home free of distractions
  • Check out an electronic device from the district, if needed
  • Ensure there is adequate internet in the household, or seek assistance from the district
  • Understand that select high school courses may involve some in-person requirements that can not be done in a virtual environment
  • Understand that the selection of the virtual learning model must remain the entire 9-week grading period before having the option of transitioning to in-person learning
  • Become familiar with the Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology, to provide support as needed
  • Maintain communication with your child’s teachers by phone, email, or online meetings to receive feedback on their progress and create a learning partnership
  • Ensure your child has required school supplies necessary for learning
  • Set up a Home Access Center (HAC) account to monitor grades and progress

Frequently Asked Questions


What learning options are available?

At this time, the Bexar County Metro Health Department has issued a health directive that all classes be held virtually, which means that students will remain at home for learning for the first two weeks of school with the possibility that this date could be extended based on health conditions at the time. After that the District will offer two options for student learning: in-person or virtual learning.

In both options:

  • Instruction will be provided by certified and highly-qualified teachers.
  • Students will have access to a wealth of District resources, including instructional materials and 
  • support staff.
  • State daily attendance requirements will apply.
  • Grading policies will be in effect, including calculation of Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Students will have access to virtual learning through Schoology, a robust learning management 
  • system that replaces Google Classroom.

In-Person Learning Option:  

  • With safety precautions and protocols in place, students attend school in-person with a teacher or 
  • teachers delivering instruction in classroom settings within school buildings.
  • Safety practices will be in place:
  • The use of face masks by staff and students (when developmentally appropriate)
  • Enhanced and frequent sanitation protocols
  • Access to hand sanitizer and/or soap and water for frequent use
  • The practice of social distancing when possible.
  • Families who choose this model may transition their child to the virtual learning model
  • NISD transportation will be available with enhanced sanitation protocols following after each route.

Virtual Learning Option:

  • Using technology from home or technology provided by the District, students attend school from 
  • home with a teacher or teachers delivering instruction virtually.
  • Instruction will be provided synchronously (real-time) and/or asynchronously (independently).
  • Daily attendance requirements will be in place.
  • Some secondary courses will have in-person expectations.
  • Families who choose this model must commit to remain in this model for a 9-week grading period 
  • before having the option of transitioning to in-person learning.

If I choose one learning option and want to change later in the year, can I switch?

Yes. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), families will have an opportunity to change learning options at the end of the 9-week grading period.

What should I do if I don’t have access to a device or the internet?

Please contact your child's campus if they are in need of a mobile device or assistance with internet access in order to complete virtual learning. Families who need devices/internet access for virtual learning can request them beginning Aug. 10 through their schools. Forms will be posted on each school website and appointments will be scheduled for pickup. PreK through 1st-grade students will receive iPads and 2nd through 12th-grade students will receive Chromebooks. Requests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional devices will be delivered later this fall to complete our District one-to-one initiative.  

Student Attendance

Will attendance be mandatory or taken?

Yes. Regardless of the instructional model selected, students should attend class and have daily interaction with a teacher. Whether in-person or online, students are expected to report to school on time and ready to learn daily. Attendance will be taken.

Attendance may look very different than any prior year. Students and parents may initially see Absent marked at the daily time attendance is taken. Because of new engagement measures for virtual learners, attendance may be changed up to one week from the date of instruction as teachers gain more information about the student’s engagement. 

For example, when an elementary school teacher takes attendance at 9:00 a.m., a student might not have yet participated. The student may engage later in the day or evening by working in Schoology or completing and submitting an assignment to the teacher. The teacher may not have that information until the following day, and then can make an update to attendance to change the student from Absent to Present: Remote Asynchronous.

Because of the new method for attendance taking, please monitor your child’s attendance through the Home Access Center and allow the teacher up to one week to update your child’s attendance. After one week, if attendance is not then accurately reflected, please reach out to your child’s teacher.

Unlike past years, attendance may initially look worse, then improve over the week as updates are made.

A virtual learner will be counted in attendance as Present: Remote Asynchronous (RA) by engaging in online learning in at least ONE of the following ways:

  • Teacher/student interaction on that date


  • Completion and submission of an assignment on that date (up until 11:59 p.m.)


  • Demonstration of progress in Schoology on that date

Merely contacting the Instructional HelpDesk will not provide evidence of engagement for attendance-taking purposes.

Attendance requirements virtual & in-person flowchart

Requisitos de asistencia virtual y en persona

What does it mean to have “teacher/student interactions that same day?”

This means your child interacts with the teacher for the purpose of moving the student closer to mastery of learning objective(s).

Teacher/student interactions may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Participating in a live online lesson or activity with the teacher
  • Student interactions with teacher/specialist during scheduled time
  • Small group instruction/support
  • One-on-one instruction/support
  • Phone call with the teacher
  • Google Meet/Chat
  • Conferencing 
  • Student attends teacher office hours/tutoring

The easiest way for a student to get credit for teacher/student interaction on any given day is to participate in daily live lessons.

What does “completion and submission of assignment that same day” mean?

This means your child completes and submits an assignment or task given by the teacher so they receive credit for attendance on the day the assignment is turned in.

Examples of what teachers may assign include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Homework
  • Exit Ticket
  • Quiz
  • Video submission
  • Unit Assessment
  • Project
  • Essay
  • Short Answer Questions
  • Formative or summative assessments
  • Daily journal entry
  • Written summary of learning
  • Participation in teacher-assigned board posts, forums, blog responses

The easiest way for a student to get credit for completion and submission of assignments on any given day is to complete assignments given by teachers and turn them in as directed by the teacher through Schoology or via email. 

Students will receive attendance credit for the day the assignment was actually submitted.

What does “demonstration of progress in Schoology” mean?

This means your child logs in to Schoology and participates in the learning opportunities given there by the teacher. Progress in Schoology should reflect a level of engagement and may include, but is not limited to, learning tasks such as:

  • Participating in an assigned discussion board
  • Editing and revising a piece of work in Schoology
  • Other assignments as given by the teacher

The easiest way for a student to get credit for demonstrating progress in Schoology is to log in to Schoology daily AND interact with the content and directions provided by the teacher. Merely logging in to Schoology is not enough to be counted in attendance.

Health & Safety

What are the recommended face coverings?

What are the safety protocols?

  • What about health screeners? Every adult (staff and parents) who comes in the building will need to use the screener app. On the front door of all campuses and departments is a QR code. All adults (staff and parents) are required to scan that code and fill out a health questionnaire prior to entering the building. Once you complete the questions, you will receive either a green screen to enter or a red screen indicating the need to speak with a supervisor.  
  • Will face masks be required? Yes, all adults and students will be required to wear masks in NISD buildings and classrooms.  
  • Will hand sanitizers be available? Yes. Hand sanitizer will be provided in classrooms in general areas of the building.  
  • Will there be extra signage about health precautions and expectations? Signage has been designed and printed for use by campuses and departments as visual reminders to students, staff, and visitors of the safety guidelines that will be in place.  
  • What about plexiglass? Plexiglass dividers have been placed in high-trafficked areas on campuses. These include areas where communication between individuals takes place more often (i.e. cafeteria serving lines, front offices, etc.).  
  • Is enhanced cleaning happening? Yes. Custodial staff has been trained in enhanced sanitation protocols and have been working to ensure all facilities are cleaned and prepped. In addition, the District has revamped custodial work hours to ensure that additional staff are in place during the school day.

Are immunizations still required?

Yes. Current immunizations (a list is available online) are still required whether learning in-person or virtually. The Texas Department of State Health Services has not waived the vaccine requirements for students.

Special Education services

What do speech services look like in the virtual setting?

Your student's Speech-Language Pathologist will continue to follow the IEP for speech therapy services. Speech therapy will occur during the instructional day and will be in a virtual, synchronous (live) format.

Is there someone in the district that can assist my family with outside resources and support information?

Yes. NISD employs two social workers that can connect families with resources. Call 210-397-8742 for more information.

How will my student get the individual attention and reteach he/she requires at home?

All teachers have office hours in addition to providing synchronous instruction throughout the school day. All special education students have a case manager that will check in with them throughout the school week. The district also offers virtual tutoring after hours including weekends with certified teachers.

My child receives OT and PT services. What do those look like in the virtual setting?

In a virtual distance learning format, OT and PT related services continue to be provided through collaborative, integrative and consultative methods which support student access and participation in their educational program. Services may include contact with the student, family, teachers and other related service staff through phone calls, video conferencing, email, posting specific suggestions (activities, videos, etc.) in the school learning management system, as well as participation in ARD meetings. Therapists continue to support students’ acquisition of personal DME equipment, including equipment evaluations, through collaboration with the students’ vendors and families via various Telehealth formats. Student specific materials/supplies may be delivered to a student’s front door with instruction for use.