SUNRAY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Students in Sunray ISD will head back to school on Thursday, Aug. 13, most of them signing up for in-person classes.
As they gear up to go back, the district is taking some COVID-19 precautions, as well as providing school supplies for students.
Sunray ISD Superintendent Marshall Harrison said the district will follow Governor Greg Abbott’s mask order.
“You know, the mask issue is a very unique issue and so we are going follow the order within the confines of the order, but we’re going to allow…we have some employees that have health issues and we’re not asking them if they choose not to wear a mask,” Harrison added. “You know, we’re just kind of—we’re following the confines of our community as well.”
Harrison said the district will practice social distancing, and where they cannot, teachers will have disposable masks in the classroom to give to kids.
“So, I think we’re going to manage the risks like everything else and we have to be honest with ourselves. Somebody’s going to get COVID, somebody’s gonna get the flu. Somebody’s going to get the stomach virus. I mean, we could go on and on. It’s just managing school. We’re going to manage it, and we’re going to go on,” said Harrison.
Of about 600 total students in Sunray ISD, Harrison said only about eight have opted for virtual learning. He said they will work individually with students who are learning from home.
“I think one of the things that we have to bring into play on the deal is I think it’s more risky to keep stepping kids back on an educational forefront,” Harrison said.
Harrison said if the district faced an outbreak, they would be able to learn virtually until it was safe to return, as students from age three up through 12th grade have devices from the district like tablets or Chromebooks to help them learn.
According to Harrison, 90% of students have access to Wi-fi service.
“You know, last year we went to virtual, we didn’t run packets. We went and Plains internet plugged in. They donated free WiFi down here at the park,” Harrison said. “And we bought hotspots. Where we couldn’t get the hotspots, we actually purchased cell phones that were just activated for the internet.”
Harrison also said Sunray ISD is providing free school supplies for all students, which can cost up to $100 per student. Those supplies will include hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.
According to Harrison, the district has spent about $15,000 buying thermal temperature readers and there will be hand sanitizer in every classroom and a company will come in to sanitize regularly.
“We’re doing a lot of things differently but we’re not doing anything that takes away from the normalcy of school because we have to be honest with the fact that we have some six months that kids haven’t been at school and they’re behind,” Harrison said. “I mean, that’s just a fact kids learn the best in classrooms and with teachers. You know, you can mix that as they get to high school on a virtual basis, like with a dual-credit program, where they’re working on their college degree, but, you know, we’re building a career technical education facility and all that and kids have to be involved and they need to be at school.”
Sunray ISD will have a prayer vigil at Bobcat Stadium on Sunday night and Sunray’s first football scrimmage is next Saturday, that according to Harrison.
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