The Board of Trustees with the Wharton Independent School District unanimously approved to follow the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Michael O’Guin to have all students begin the school year using a “virtual” model.
 
The first day of Wharton ISD instruction for the 2020-21 school year is Monday, Aug. 17. But, students will spend the first four weeks away from campuses.
 
The discussion came up during a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 28. It was during the action item WISD “Safe Return” to school plan with three outlined models (face to face, virtual, both synchronous and asynchronous).
 
Before he made his recommendation, O’Guin said virtual would allow Wharton ISD time to assess how COVID-19 will pan out in the coming weeks. At the present time, the number of new positive cases has spiked throughout Wharton County and the city.
 
“I feel that is the best thing we can do right now to honor the safety of our students and staff members,” O’Guin said. “If we need to call a special board meeting (in the coming weeks), we can do that. The state allows us four weeks.”

This means that students will begin school in a similar way last school year ended – through the use of technology to be educated whether it be a phone, computer, tablet, etc. 

O’Guin told trustees he did not want to commit an entire semester using this or any model.

WISD will conduct the virtual model the first four weeks of school. WISD trustees will then have a meeting and assess how this model is going during the third week. It is at this meeting that they will decide what will occur the fifth week and beyond.

O’Guin said it’s likely a special board m

School supplies

Trustee Rachel Rust said she doesn’t feel that students should be burdened to use their own products to sanitize, and questioned what WISD is doing to meet students halfway. She said it is very hard to find adequate sanitizing products at the present time because of the demand.

S.B. Pierson, who is the assistant superintendent of administration, said the State of Texas had provided school districts with personal protection equipment and hand sanitizers. He said there is not enough for an entire school year, but there is enough for the first semester.

“As it relates to the school supplies, Dr. Guin approached us yesterday to go back to revise or go back to look at what is being requested for school supplies to take some revisions to that list,” Pierson said. “No, we are not expecting the students and whatever they bring to be the only supply for sanitizing or disinfectant that we have in our district.”

WISD does have a contracting services agreement with a company to sanitize various buildings.

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