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Sabine Pass Superintendent talks longer school days, mask rules

SABINE PASS — Sabine Pass Independent School District will start in-person instruction Aug. 19 with an asynchronous option.

Superintendent Kristi Heid said parents need choices to make what works for their family structure.

Students attending on-campus instruction will follow an amended calendar intended to create flexibility with the current COVID-19 situation.

The first bell will ring at 7:40 a.m. with classes beginning at 7:45 a.m.

The final dismissal bell will ring at 3:15 p.m.

“Our school’s schedule did not change from the original schedule that was approved,” Heid said. “The time changed to add more minutes to provide more days in the event we need days.”

Students attending classes on-campus will adhere to a strict set of procedures and guidelines.

Parents will be required to self-screen their students, temperature checks will be administered by school personnel upon arrival and face coverings must be worn at all times, except when social distanced at their desks in the classroom or during breakfast and lunch.

Students 10 and under will be required to wear masks in school.

Heid said social distancing is a top priority.

“We will have options for social distancing in classrooms with drop off and pick up,” she said. “Our teachers will also change classes, not our students. We have a very large campus for our students to social distance.”

Students must attend in-person classes in order to participate in club organizations, athletics, UIL and other activities.

Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jason Thibodeaux said COVID-19 is impacting the amount of players joining the football team. The Sharks currently only have nine players.

“Parents are going to be parents,” he said. “I’m a parent, so I’m going to watch out for what’s best for my kid, but we have such a great plan here that our administration put together to keep our kids as separate as possible. We’re fortunate that we have a smaller population of kids, so we can actually pull it off. These bigger schools are going to have a harder time pulling it off.”

Disinfecting measures including cleaning each classroom and restroom throughout the school day, placing hand sanitizer throughout the campus and enforcing good hygiene.

Students exhibiting symptoms will be referred directly to the nurse and if needed separated from their peers and sent home.

Parents and students that wish to opt out of in-person classes can choose the asynchronous option.

Sabine Pass ISD is conducting remote learning asynchronously with synchronous learning opportunities. Students will be required to log on to complete class assignments on a daily basis.

Students who choose the remote method of learning cannot switch to in-person classes until the end of the six-week grading period and are exempt from participating in extracurricular activities.

Meals will be provided for all students including those taking classes virtually.

Heid asks parents and students to continue monitoring the district’s website for updates and guidelines.

“We work hard toward a successful school year by keeping our students safe and continuing to move their education forward,” she said.

The last day of school is May 27, 2021.