Springing Into New COVID Policies

KIPP Texas Families,

Two years ago, our return from Spring Break looked much different. It was the start of introducing new protocols and figuring out new ways of learning for Little KIPPsters and new ways of working for Big KIPPsters at the onset of the COVID pandemic. What feels like many moons later, I’m delighted to share that we are hearing about national and statewide regression of the COVID-19 virus. 

As promised, we are ready to share our updated COVID policies with Big KIPPsters and KIPP Texas families. In preparing these guidelines, we considered the current state of COVID across all regions, input from our in-house pediatrician and Managing Director of  Student Wellness, Dr. Maria Rivera, CDC updates, and the availability of vaccinations. Although we hope to keep these policies in place through the end of the year, we are closely monitoring a new variant, BA.2 that has started spreading in Europe and the U.S. We may pull back these revised policies at any time if necessary to keep our Team and Family safe and healthy. 

The policies below will be effective April 1, 2022.

PolicyUpdated Policy
Current County Threat Level as of March 28, 2022Austin - LOW
Dallas - LOW
Houston - MEDIUM
San Antonio - LOW
MasksThe KIPP Texas mask mandate will vary by county threat level as measured using the CDC Community Levels tool.

If county is in green:
- Masks are strongly recommended but not required in KIPP schools or offices.
- Masks are still required in healthcare areas.
- As of March 28, 2022, Bexar, Travis and Dallas counties are GREEN, so masks will be optional at this time in all San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas KIPP schools.

If county turns yellow or orange:
- All KIPPsters and visitors will be required to wear a medical grade mask or double up cloth masks in all KIPP buildings and school buses.
- You can remove your mask outdoors if you are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Masks can also be removed if you are alone in a closed office space.
- As of March 28, 2022, Harris county is YELLOW, so masks are required in all Houston KIPP schools.
Student TravelDay trips and overnight field trips are now permitted with the above mask policies followed.

Follow these steps:
- Look at the threat level where you’re going using the CDC tool.
- If yellow or orange, masks are required, students must remain cohorted (bus seating, eating), tests are strongly recommended before the trip and after arrival home. Testing should be done the day of arrival and repeated 2 days later. (arrival test can be waived if student or staff won’t be in school for 2 days).

Spring Season Sports- If the county level is green using CDC tool, no screening testing is required. All students or coaches with symptoms should still be tested.
- As of March 28, 2022, Bexar, Travis and Dallas counties are GREEN, so once weekly screening tests are NOT required at this time in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.
- If yellow, screening testing should occur once per week
- As of March 28, 2022, Harris county is YELLOW, so once weekly screening tests are required at this time in Houston.
- If orange, screening testing should occur twice per week.
- Masks are still required for spectators that are standing within 6 feet of others, both indoors and outdoors in yellow or orange levels.

We are continuing to monitor risk levels per region and will align our COVID protocols accordingly. We promise to keep you informed as we work to keep our community safe and illness at bay. 

Tell Us What You Think! KIPP Texas Health & Safety Survey

Like all other U.S. school districts, KIPP Texas has the opportunity to utilize funds through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). We are using our funds to supplement the unfinished learning our Little KIPPsters have experienced due to the pandemic, COVID-related school closures, preparation for school reopening, and more for the next three years.

For a look at the KIPP Texas ESSER plans, click here.

As part of our ESSER fund requirements, we must review our plan and collect input on spending every six months. We are asking for particular feedback about our COVID health and safety measures for this period. We kindly ask that you take five minutes or less to complete this survey by Monday, April 4. Thank you, Big KIPPsters!

Women’s History Month Continues

I love hearing about the women who influence and inspire our Big and Little KIPPsters and celebrating HERstory! This week, Little KIPPster Makenzi, shares her role model in her life. 

“There are so many amazing women in history that inspire me, but the woman who inspires me the most is my mom (Tamara Simuel). She’s loving and caring, but she also lets me have my space when I need it. She is a teacher at KIPP, so sometimes she needs to spend time with her other kids, too, but she is amazing, wonderful, and beautiful.”

What lovely words from Makenzi! Tamara also inspires me. A woman, mother, role model, teacher, and history maker! 

And as one final treat for Women’s History Month, I’ll share this link to a KVUE media story about our fierce and phenomenal STEMinists–an award-winning and all-girls robotics team at KIPP Austin Collegiate. News like this makes my heart sing!

With gratitude,

Sehba Ali

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