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Bob Hope School introduces block scheduling & remote start – “things may change”

Bob Hope School is offering multiple innovative educational options for the 2020-21 school year, including in-person instruction, virtual and block scheduling.

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bobby Lopez said he wants to provide parents and students with options that best suits their individual needs.

“We are concerned about the coronavirus,” he said. “We want our students and staff to feel safe. The education commissioner is allowing us to do different options and we want to take advantage of that. We are hoping the virus count will go down in Jefferson County soon, but we need to be vigilant until then.”

Bob Hope students can choose from one of three instruction options:

Bob Hope School’s 2020-21 Instructional Program provides for three different options. (Courtesy graphic)

Option 1: In-school instruction

This option allows students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade to be physically present in the classroom every day.

“All parents have the right to send their kids to school,” Lopez said. “If they want to attend fulltime, they can do that.”

Option 2: Synchronous instruction

These students will be on an A/B schedule where they will report to school one week and then work from home the following week.

Middle school and high school students will be broken up into 10 students per a class.

Students will remain in the same classroom, while teachers rotate to decrease foot traffic and large transitions in hallways.

“We are still trying to see if there is any way we can get the number of STEM kids down even less, but it’s very difficult to lower that number,” Lopez said. “This option is important for parents who want to send their kids to school, but not fulltime.”

Students will only be on campus Monday-Thursday. Friday will be used as a check-in and extra workday.

This method allows for a student-to-teacher ratio of 1 to 2½ (including a teacher aid).

Option 3: Asynchronous instruction

These students will work from home on their own time and interact intermittently with the teacher via their computer, other electronic devices or over the phone.

This applies to students in grades Pre-K through 2 and may apply to students in grade 3-12.

Bob Hope is providing all students in grades 3-12 with a Chromebook for online instruction. Wi-Fi is not included.

Overall, Lopez said no matter what option parents choose, their students will still receive a top-notch education.

“This year is very unique in the fact that you have the virus which started back in March and has continued to rise and fall,” he said. “It’s going to be a crazy year to say the least, but we will have to adjust to it. The virus is very deadly and we all recognize that, but we also want to provide opportunities for parents. Our parents are asking for choices and we as a district have to respond to our parents.”

Bob Hope’s first day of school is Aug. 24.

Lopez said he is considering starting the school year remotely for the first three weeks.

“We have teachers coming in two weeks before Aug. 24 for training,” he said. “We usually start earlier in August but because of the pandemic, we wanted to push it back. Speaking today, things may change tomorrow. We may start the first three weeks remotely. It may even go beyond that.”

Lopez said this will give a chance for teachers to prepare, provide support to staff and still keep people safe.

“We are taking this whole situation very serious,” he said.

The district calendar also includes two extra weeks off in the event of a shutdown.

Instead of two weeks at Christmas time, students will have three and return for the spring semester on Jan. 11. An extra week during spring break is also included as an intercessional period.

In regards to health protocols, all schools will be disinfected daily after classes, hand sanitizer will be placed in classrooms, hallways and bathrooms.

Temperature checks will occur before entering a building and anyone with a 99.5 or higher will be asked to leave. Masks are mandatory while on campus.

All students will receive two additional cloth facemasks in addition to the Texas Education Agency’s provided PPE.

Teachers will wear face shields and desks will be equipped with desk shields.

“We are in the planning process, but we want to make sure we protect our kids and at the same time provide them the same education we have been doing for the last 10 years,” Lopez said.

A decision on extra-curricular activities, clubs and sports has not been made at this time.

For more information, visit bobhopeschool.org.