CASSANDRA JENKINS — Breakdown of 3 largest local school district reopening plans

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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Port Neches-Groves Independent School District announced its back-to-school plans at a virtual board meeting Monday night.

As the last district in the Mid- and South County to release school information, parents, staff and students can now compare and contrast the three districts’ campaigns.

Nederland, Port Arthur and PNGISD will all return to school next month.

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PAISD’s calendar includes an Aug. 18 start. Nederland students will return on Aug. 17 and PNGISD will follow on Aug. 19.

All three schools are incorporating a set number of flex dates in case of a COVID-19 closure.

Should a shutdown become unnecessary, PAISD’s final day will be May 21, PNGISD’s May 27 and NISD’s will finish out school the earliest on May 18.

While the calendars do not vary widely between the three districts, each superintendent’s decision on how and where to conduct classes does.

For example, PNGISD is the only district not giving a virtual learning option.

Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier said Port Neches-Groves ISD is offering in-person instruction only.

Gauthier said homebound instruction will only be offered for those with a medical necessity.

“Those not in medical danger are required to return to school,” she said. “That is the best thing for our community and students. There is individualized instruction for kids, and there are gaps in learning that are best done in person. There is nothing to replace in-person instruction. That’s what we do best.”

Nederland and PAISD are offering synchronous and asynchronous learning options.

Remote synchronous is two-way, real-time virtual instruction between teachers and students for students who are not on campus.

Remote asynchronous is an instruction style of learning that does not require having the instructor and student engaged at the same time and may include prerecorded video lessons, online tasks or paper assignments.

PAISD Superintendent Mark Porterie said PAISD will offer all options with an emphasis in face-to-face instruction and synchronous instruction.

“A teacher will open the lesson with students in front of him or her and students online that are listening and viewing from home,” he said. “Students will be interacting in the classroom and online throughout that lesson.

“Once that class has ended, then virtual students will login to another teacher’s lesson and that will go on throughout the day. We want to hit the needs of every student in the district.”

Nederland ISD is the only district altering school days by tacking on an additional 30 minutes split between the back and front end.

Assistant Superintendent Stuart Kieschnick said the change allows students to catch up on missed school work and lessons.

“We know that not just NISD, but every school district in the state, every student in the state, did not get the education they normally do,” he said. “So with this new calendar we built in some intervention time.”

All schools will exhibit health screenings, a mask mandate, social distancing guidelines, limited visitor capacity, cleaning methods, sanitizing and quarantine measures.

PNGISD is the only school district enlisting the help of a 24/7 air ventilation cleaning system.


Cassandra Jenkins is a news reporter for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at