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PAISD, WOCCISD release back to school plans

Plans include what screening will look like and how they will deal with positive cases during the school year

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Port Arthur Independent School District and West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District are the latest districts to release plans for reopening schools in August.

Each district takes their own approach to screenings and face masks as well as options for parents who want to have their child do virtual learning. 


All students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks when schools reopen, which is currently set for August 18. 

The district has released detailed plans for screening students and staff as well as what happens when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school building. While there is no specific plan for online learning, the Texas Education Agency announced this week that virtual classes would be made available for all students. 

"There is no perfect approach to reopen our schools," Dr. Mark Porterie, superintendent of PAISD said. "Based on information available to us as of the present time, the District will create contingency plans for reopening of our schools. Our plans are subject to change as public health guidelines are updated."

The district says that if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school building, regardless of community spread, a short (potentially 2-5 day) building dismissal will take place to clean, disinfect and contact trace in consultation with local health officials. 

  • All students and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals who present symptoms will be separated and sent home.
  • Staff will be required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to reporting to work each day.
  • Parents/Guardians are expected to screen their child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms each day prior to sending their child(ren) to school.
  • Hand sanitizers are placed at each entrance. It is recommended that all students and staff use it when entering the building.
  • Limited visitation policies are in place at every facility to reduce nonessential visits.
  • Staff, students, and visitors gaining entry to campus are required to wear masks.
  • Access to certain workplace areas are restricted to essential personnel.
  • Policies apply to all employees, including temporary and substitute staff.
  • Employee travel to conferences and non-essential travel are not permitted at this time.
  • Staff professional development and other meetings will be conducted virtually or by limiting number of participants while practicing safe distancing guidelines.
  • Field trips are not permitted at this time.
  • Assemblies and dances are not permitted at this time.
  • Students and staff will frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer after they have touched something another person recently touched.
  • Students will be instructed in good hand washing techniques and be given frequent opportunities to wash their hands.
  • Personnel handling mail and parcels will be required to wear PPE to receive parcels, mail, and other deliveries.


West Orange-Cove CISD is offering on-campus instruction and virtual school instruction. Parents will chose which option they want for their child when they register for classes in mid-July. 

The district will require teachers and staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto campus. The self-screening should include a temperature check, the district said

Teachers and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or have a lab confirmed case of the virus, must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry. 

Students with symptoms can opt to receive remote instruction until they are approved for re-entry. Students can also receive remote instruction for 14 days if they had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19.

In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met: 

  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications)
  • The individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
  • At least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Students who are enrolled in the virtual school model will receive instruction in a completely online environment. This type of instruction may include various forms of digital and online learning, video lessons, or other digital learning tasks that students complete on their own, the district said. 

  • Students will have a WOCCISD teacher, but the majority of learning and practice will be completed by the student at home, using resources provided by the teacher and WOCCISD 
  • All instruction will be delivered virtually 
  • Instruction will be supported by WOCCISD teachers 
  • Curriculum and resources are specifically designed for a virtual environment and aligned to district expectations/scope and sequence of the curriculum 
  • Students will be expected to participate in district/state assessments to document student learning and growth as required by the state 
  • The WOCCISD teacher will communicate daily learning expectations in the district learning management systems (Google Classroom/Edgenuity/Zoom/ Imagine Learning) 
  • Daily progress can be made through student learning plans as defined by the teacher in the learning management system 
  • Scheduled instruction and interaction will be made available virtually by the teacher 
  • Students will turn in daily assignments to the teacher through the learning management systems (Google Classroom/Edgenuity/Zoom/Imagine Learning) 
  • Teachers will provide feedback to students and use district grading guidelines on all assignments 
  • Attendance will be taken daily to fulfill local and state requirements 
  • Learning may be synchronous or asynchronous methods as students follow a specific schedule designed to accommodate the virtual environment 
  • All related services will be provided through Zoom by WOCCISD 
  • A more detailed explanation of the at-home option can be found within the AtHome tab on the school district’s website.

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