Minor calendar changes for the remainder of the ROISD school year

Daily Light Report

RED OAK -- Red Oak ISD has altered the 2020-21 school calendar with minor changes based on several factors that will help with balancing student and staff needs.

The dates that were affected will allow for more staff planning time to best educate the students for the remainder of the year, while reducing exposure, according to a news release.

“In essence, we want to continue to provide the highest level of teaching and learning in the safest environment,” stated Superintendent Brenda Sanford. “Daily, we review and assess both student learning levels and the current COVID-19 situation in the district and county. We made minor changes that will provide much-needed breaks for staff and students and reduce exposure by eliminating early release days and increasing staff development days, while still maintaining the integrity of staff workdays and student minutes of instruction.”

Red Oak ISD approves altered school calendar.

The decision was also made following the Texas Education Agency announcement of 10-14 days of closure allowed should a school district need to close a campus for a massive outbreak. Previously only five days would be funded by the state for a COVID-19 related closure. The Ellis County threshold has been set at 10 percent of a group, team, class, grade, school, or ISD.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 1, ROISD listed 26 active cases across the district, or .38% of all students and staff. The district does not foresee any possible closures at this time.

The decision was also impacted by the district’s ability to go virtual concerning devices. Last summer, the school board authorized the purchase of additional devices that have been on backorder and are now expected in late December. TEA also ordered devices for all districts, and those should arrive in January.

According to the news release, "The increase in the number of staff development days will allow for much needed professional development and planning for staff, as well as disinfecting days, if needed. Staff can collaborate and plan for student interventions, focus on lesson development, meet virtually with staff from across the district or participate in training from across the regional, state, and nation to hone their craft. This modified calendar still exceeds the state-required student minutes of instruction."

Below are the calendar changes for the remainder of 2020-21 School Year:

- Friday, Dec. 18: originally Early Release; now Staff Development Day

- Tuesday, Jan. 5: originally Student Make-Up / Staff Development Day; now Regular School Day - First Day of Spring Semester

- Monday, March 29: originally Student Make-Up / Staff Development Day; now Staff Development Day

- Monday, April 19: originally Student Make-Up / Staff Development Day; now Staff Development Day

- Friday, May 14: originally Regular School Day; now Staff Development Day

- Friday, May 28: originally Early Release; now Staff Development Day

With the exception of Jan. 5, students will not have school on the dates selected above. Principals/supervisors will provide guidance for staff assignments and facility access before each staff development day.

These changes were brought about after discussion by staff and vetting of the Red Oak Community Advisory Council by email. The council comprises parents, business leaders, district staff, and community members.

According to the news release, the vast majority support the changes and the rationale behind the decision. “We know these slight adjustments to the calendar may impact some families' travel plans, and for that, we apologize in advance,” Sanford said. “We are notifying families as soon as possible so they can make adjustments as well. This decision was not taken lightly and we hope you know we did our best to balance all concerns involved.”

The board will approve the new calendar at the Dec. 14 board meeting.

Updated calendars have been sent by email to all staff and families, and can be viewed on the district and campus websites and on social media at https://www.redoakisd.org/ .