Public Announcement

October 5, 2020

Preparing for the start of in-person school and other important tips

Photo of KIPP Texas Students

Dear KIPP Texas Families,

We are counting down to the start of in-person school! This week, all KIPP Texas teachers will be returning to our school buildings to fully practice safety protocols, set up their classrooms, and prepare for the phased-in return of our KIPPsters. We are so excited to provide this option, while still providing a 100% virtual learning option.

You can expect that, starting tomorrow, October 6, your child will have synchronous lessons (live on video with a teacher) in the morning and asynchronous lessons (self-paced assignments) in the afternoon. This will create the time for our teachers to train, set up and prepare for the start of in-person school.

If you haven’t already, please make sure you have reviewed the following three resources, where you’ll find an overview and detailed information of our our plans so Big and Little KIPPsters alike will have a safe start:

  1. Please watch this “First Day of School” video with your KIPPster: https://youtu.be/iE6tFBvnRyU
  2. Please read the At a Glance back-to-school guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15-1Fe5h4KDG5jIYSAoTUR7ZDaO-Xa44f/view
  3. Please review the full back-to-school guide for more information: https://kipptexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/20113_Restart-Book-Family-Back-to-School-Guide-v12.pdf

For those of you whose KIPPsters will continue virtual learning, please read this update as well since teachers’ class assignments and schedules may change over the next few weeks as we shift responsibilities to accommodate in-person learning.

______

Technology Update

KIPP Texas has distributed over 22,500 Chromebook/laptop to KIPPsters through our Spring and Summer distribution events. Our goal was to get a KIPP Chromebook/laptop device to all Little KIPPsters who need them, so they could have the technology they need to have the best learning experience.

Back in the Spring, KIPP ordered additional Chromebook/laptops, in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to a world-wide equipment shortage we were not able to get enough devices to give one to all students until NOW. I am extremely pleased to announce that KIPP Texas now has Chromebook/laptop devices for every KIPPster that does not already have one.

If your KIPPster is coming back to school in-person on 10/13, they will be issued a KIPP Texas Chromebook/laptop device and charger before or upon their return to school (please note that parents / guardians will need to sign the KIPP Texas Loaner Device Agreement prior to receiving the device). KIPPsters will not be able to use non-KIPP devices on KIPP campuses once they return to in-person school.

If your KIPPster is not returning to in-person school and does not have a KIPP Chromebook, but would like to have one, please submit an IT Support Services ticket through the Student Support Portal https://studentkipptexas.zendesk.com/.

COVID Spread Prevention

Last week, I shared updates we are making to the HVAC systems and protocols in order to promote a safer environment.  This week, I want to share more details about the multi-prong approach to COVID prevention in our schools and buildings. 

As we return to in-person school, the most important preventative tool will be to wear a mask. We will also maintain as much distance as possible between individuals in our classrooms and require face coverings for Big and Little KIPPsters on our campuses. Whenever possible, we will maintain 6 feet distance in classrooms, however, that may not be the case in classrooms where more KIPPsters elect in-person learning. 

In common areas outside of classroom spaces, we will maintain at least 6 feet of distance between individuals and will continue to require face coverings. We will prevent, as best as possible, individuals with COVID or showing COVID symptoms from coming into our buildings through Contact Tracing surveys and screenings before entering any of our buildings. We are confident that with all of our safety procedures and HVAC updates, we are creating the safest environment possible for in-person learning.

Grab & Go Meals

Through the KIPP Texas Curbside Meal Survey, many families expressed a desire to pick up meals at the KIPP campus closest to them, not necessarily the campus their child attends. Therefore starting today, we have made this adjustment and are ready to provide meals to KIPP students at the campus which is most convenient to them.  

We are also excited to announce we’ve added a new curbside site at our KIPP Journey Campus in Houston, which will start on Monday, October 10.

We want to ensure our Little KIPPsters receive nutritious meals every day, whether they are learning at home or in a classroom. Remember, breakfast and lunch are available to all KIPP students daily. Our meal distribution services run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For distribution sites’ location information, visit the Grab and Go meals page on our website: (https://kipptexas.org/curbside-grab-go-meals/).

Voting Information

Today is the last day to register to vote or to update your voter registration information! As you know, voting is one of the most important ways that we can speak up on issues that impact our schools and communities.

Below are a few key dates coming up:

Monday, October 5: Deadline to register (or update your voter registration information).

Tuesday, October 13 – Friday, October 30: Early voting.

Friday, October 23: Deadline for application for ballot by mail to be received by county elections clerk.

Tuesday, November 3: Election Day (KIPP Texas will dismiss all Little and Big KIPPsters at 12 pm so that our Team and Family and families can have time to vote).

If your school, class, or student has a first-time voter story or a special activity related to voting to share, please contact Noah Siegler.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can we not stay 100% virtual for the rest of the year?

Many of our KIPPsters are struggling with virtual learning and need to be back in-person with a live teacher. In other cases, our KIPPsters’ parents or guardians need their students to have an in-person option while they work. Also, the Texas Education Agency has mandated that parents who want their children in-person for learning have the right to do so after up to 8 weeks of virtual instruction. 

Where can I find KIPP Texas health and safety procedures and protocols for in-person school restart?

You can find all our health and safety procedures, as well as the latest announcements, regarding in-person school restart on our website, here: https://kipptexas.org/coronavirus-updates/

Please make sure you have reviewed the following resources, where you’ll find an overview and detailed information of our our plans so Big and Little KIPPsters alike will have a safe start:

  1. Please watch this “First Day of School” video with your KIPPster: https://youtu.be/iE6tFBvnRyU
  2. Please read the At a Glance back-to-school guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15-1Fe5h4KDG5jIYSAoTUR7ZDaO-Xa44f/view
  3. Please review the full back-to-school guide for more information: https://kipptexas.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/20113_Restart-Book-Family-Back-to-School-Guide-v12.pdf

When will I know my KIPPster’s teacher assignment and class schedule for in-person learning?

We understand you and your KIPPster are anxious to learn about any changes in teacher assignments, schedules, and transportation. We are in the process of analyzing the Method of Learning survey by school to determine how many KIPPsters in each class will return in person and how many teachers and school staff are unavailable to work in person because of their own underlying health conditions or those of someone in their home. Based on the data, we will then make any necessary changes to teacher assignments, learning schedules, and transportation for students. 

We are now processing the Method of Learning survey results. These are some of the areas where the results could impact you KIPPster and / or their school:

  • Teacher Assignments – As we prepare to host in-person students and continue virtual teaching, we may have to shift your KIPPster’s teachers. Our goal is to minimize these changes whenever possible, but we anticipate there will be instances where a change will be unavoidable. The number of in-person students will also impact the student-to-teacher ratio in our classrooms.
  • Synchronous Learning Schedules – As our teachers balance in-person and virtual learning, we may need to adjust the times when your child is receiving live instruction from a teacher, either in a classroom or virtually. 
  • Transportation – If your KIPPster rode a school bus last year and intends to do so again this year, the results of the Method of Learning survey could impact the location of bus stops and pick-up/drop-off time.

We are working hard to minimize change for your child. Thank you for your patience and grace as we work through the data and make decisions. We will communicate any changes with you in advance of in-person start.

Where can I find information on KIPP Texas positive COVID-19 cases?

The State of Texas requires that all public schools provide updated and accessible information regarding positive COVID-19 cases on our campuses. While we hope there won’t be any cases to report, you can find this information on the KIPP Texas website: https://kipptexas.org/coronavirus-updates/.

What changes have you made to the school buildings to promote a safer environment?

As part of our commitment to our students, staff and community’s safety, the KIPP Texas Facilities team has made several changes aimed at increasing the indoor air quality throughout our buildings.  

  • We have increased the quality of air filters that are used in our buildings to the type of filters used in hospitals. These filters will help reduce the airborne load of any infectious particles. 
  • We have also increased the frequency that our filters will be changed. This allows for better filtration, increases the amount of air changes in each of our spaces, and helps reduce the amount of contaminants in the buildings.  
  • We have optimized our HVAC units to increase the amount of outside fresh-air that is introduced throughout the day.  Again, this reduces the amount of ‘recycled’ air in our buildings and helps eliminate contaminants. 
  • Also, research has shown that temperature and humidity are key factors in how long COVID can survive outside the human body. Accordingly, we are optimizing our temperature and humidity controls to make our buildings less hospitable to the disease.     
  • Lastly, we have increased the amount of time that we run our HVAC units daily in order to allow the changes above to have the greatest effect.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support as we each do our part to prepare for a safe start of in-person school. It’s going to take our entire Team & Family working together to ensure we have a safe start to in-person school.

With gratitude,

Sehba Ali

Important Links

Virtual Learning Portal

At a Glance Back to School Guide

Complete Family Back to School Guide

Grab & Go meals

Register to Vote