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General Information

  • Hays CISD continues to closely monitor information from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Texas Department of State and Health Services (TDSHS), and the local health department regarding the novel coronavirus. This webpage will be updated regularly during the worldwide coronavirus event and will serve as the centralized Hays CISD coronavirus information headquarters.

    The material provided on this webpage serves as official information from the district, or links to other official sources. Remember, all information on this page may change as new information becomes available or circumstances evolve. During any potential emergency or crisis, Hays CISD understands that people react and are affected in different ways.

    The district always respects parents and employees to make decisions necessary for themselves and their families based on individual, unique needs.


    Link to Hays CISD COVID Health and Safety Measures Page

    Link to Hays CISD COVID Response Flowchart Button

    link to covid dashboard

Get Answers

  • Use the buttons below to get answers to your Hays CISD COVID-19 questions from a real person.

    link to COVID question moduleemail COVID question to Learning & Teaching
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Elementary Mask Encouragement

  • No student is currently being required to wear a mask. We continue to encourage masks as we have said we would do.

    Parents who are fine with our program of mask encouragement do not need to do anything. Our default position will be to continue to have students wear masks in classes, particularly in group collaborations. Parents who do not want us to encourage their children to wear masks may affirm that position by completing the form the district’s Elementary Mask Preference Form (linked below) and returning it to their child’s teacher or campus by Monday, September 13, 2021.

    Form in English: www.hayscisd.net/maskform
    Form in Spanish: www.hayscisd.net/maskformSPN

    With this process, we will be able to take the guess work off of the plates of our teachers about which students should or should not be asked to wear their masks. And, we will be able to have a system in place to ensure that your wishes are respected.

Universal Healthy Practices

  • photo of person washing hands
    As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol).
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.|


Grant Application Notice

  • HAYS CISD NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR THE 2020-2023 ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF (ESSER) III GRANT

    The Hays Consolidated Independent School district is providing public notice to the community and stakeholders of its intent to submit an application for the 2020-2023 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Grant under American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.

    The intent and purpose of the ESSER III grant funding is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our students.

    Hays CISD is soliciting input from all stakeholders for the development of the Uses of Funds Plan for ARP ESSER III funds.  Please email Stephanie Norris at stephanie.norris@hayscisd.net to share suggestions/ comments.

    Upon completion, the district will maintain a copy of the grant application on file for stakeholder review. (see below)


    Please click here to view Grant Application - Program Narrative 

    Please click here to view Grant Application - Program Plan 

    Please click here to view the ESSER III: Use of Funds Plan

Important COVID-19 (Coronavirus) District Notices

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  • September 8, 2021 Email: Elementary School COVID Update

    Posted by Tim Savoy on 9/8/2021

    Dear Hays CISD Elementary Parents,

    We continue to monitor real-time data regarding COVID-19, particularly how it is affecting our elementary school campuses. We know your children are the most vulnerable because there is not yet an approved vaccine option for students who are not 12-years-old.  

    Our number one goal is to keep everyone safe while maintaining the educational integrity in our classrooms. Closing classrooms has been critical to maintaining safety in about a dozen cases in our district so far this year; but this practice alone fails the test of the second, and equally important, part of our goal – educational integrity. We know, without a doubt, that the magic between students and teachers happens in-person, in classrooms.  

    We anticipated that we would likely see an increase in the number of positive cases on our campuses this year due to the increased number of students attending in person. Our actual data from the first three weeks of school confirms what we expected. Given that we are seeing the increases in cases; beginning today, we are implementing a process on all elementary school campuses that we have been developing in hopes that this will help to keep students safe and in class.

    If you are fine with our district’s program of mask encouragement, you do not need to do anything. Our teachers will continue to have your children wear masks in classes, particularly in group collaborations. If you do not want us to encourage your children to wear masks you may affirm that position by completing the district’s Elementary Mask Preference Form (linked below) and returning it to your child’s teacher or campus by Monday, September 13, 2021.

    Form in English: www.hayscisd.net/maskform
    Form in Spanish: www.hayscisd.net/maskformSPN

    No student is currently being required to wear a mask.  We continue to encourage masks as we have said we would do. With this process, we will be able to take the guess work off of the plates of our teachers about which students should or should not be asked to wear their masks. And, we will be able to have a system in place to ensure that your wishes are respected.

    Additionally, we anticipate that the governor will sign into shortly that will allow us to expand our virtual learning option to students up to 6th grade. This should provide parents with more choice in terms of COVID safety. We will have more information about that option soon, pending signature of the governor to allow schools the ability to offer the program.

    Sincerely,
    The Hays CISD Academic Team

    Comments (-1)
  • August 31, 2021 Email: Superintendent Update on COVID

    Posted by Tim Savoy on 8/31/2021

    Dear Hays CISD Family,

    As the school year enters its second full week, we continue to get additional information about what we are facing with the Delta variant of COVID-19. The data is not surprising or unique to our district, but it is indeed as concerning as we expected it might be. I want to share with you the latest information on the adjustments we are making to our actions and plans as we work to stay ahead of the virus and to provide you and your children the best and safest educational setting we can.

    Masks

    I need you to wear masks. Your school district family needs you to wear masks. Given that our COVID-positive case numbers are as high this week as the highest week of the entire last school year, I need you to wear a mask. Thank you to the majority of our staff and students at the majority of our campuses for doing your part to be kind to your neighbors by wearing a mask. Additionally, we are distributing masks to campuses to have them readily available for students and staff who need them.

    We don’t currently have legal authority or practical ability to require masks, but we are closely watching the courts and the legislature. In the courts, we anticipate the supreme court to issue a statewide ruling within the coming weeks regarding the governor’s ban on mask mandates. In the legislature, both political parties appear to be close to an agreement on a bill that, if signed by the governor, would allow districts to have mask mandates with opt-out provisions. We hope to know more about this development by the end of this week or early next week.

    Virtual Learning

    We are also watching the legislature for a bill that could fund a virtual learning choice for students beyond the limited remote conferencing and Homebound Academy options we are currently able to provide students. We are optimistic we will have some additional options soon that we can make available to you and your children.  

    Daily Dashboard

    Beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2021, which is next week, we will begin updating our COVID dashboard daily, on days students are in school. The dashboard is in re-design to accommodate the additional data.

    Moving Classes to Remote Conferencing

    We have started to see our first classrooms having to move to remote conferencing because of COVID cases. Remote conferencing is the name the Texas Education Agency has given a type of virtual learning option that allows students to access teachers for up to four hours a day with questions about their asynchronous assignments. Students and staff who test positive must quarantine.

    Our standard threshold to move an entire classroom, grade-level, or school to remote conferencing is when we see a 10% or greater positive case confirmation count within a week. For example, with most elementary school classrooms of 22 students, if three or more people in the same classroom test positive within the same week, the class would move to remote conferencing.

    As of writing this letter, we have placed 5 classrooms districtwide on remote conferencing – two at Elm Grove Elementary School, one each at Buda and Negley Elementary Schools, and one special education classroom at Chapa Middle School.

    Streamlining the Notification Process

    We are working on ideas to streamline our COVID-positive and close contact notification emails and letters that go home to you. This will make the information more user friendly for you and will help reduce data and notification duties from our nurses so that they may spend more time working directly with students.

    Employee Leave Benefits

    I am proud to announce that the Board has approved a program that will allow employees to have up to ten days paid leave if they must quarantine for a positive test, or if they must quarantine to take care of a COVID-positive, school-aged child. This benefit is for all employees regardless of vaccine status and it will be retroactive back to July 1, 2021. In weighing whether to use this program as an incentive for employees to get vaccinated, we determined that the most important outcome is that all employees who are ill, regardless of vaccine status, need to have the ability to quarantine without fear of losing income if they are out of leave days.

    COVID Help Desk

    We are working to set up a COVID information helpdesk staff with nurses who would be contracted from an outside company to answer your COVID-related health questions and to help you with district COVID-related quarantine and safety protocols. This will help free our campus nurses to focus on their duties working directly with students. As an example, one of the many questions we are getting is whether an unvaccinated person should stay home if they live with a person (spouse, child, household member) who has tested positive. The answer is yes.

    Vax Approval for Younger Children

    We don’t have any new information regarding when a vaccine may be available for children younger than 12, but we know it is in the works. We hope it will be this fall. For those who can get vaccinated, we are encouraging you to do so.

    Air Purifiers

    In addition to our heightened sanitization protocols at campuses, we are in the process of bidding out for air purifiers and filtration systems for our campuses to enhance what we already have in place.

    This email is just a highlight of the many things we are working on to navigate this latest and most aggressive chapter in the COVID pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us, expressed their voices at our Board meetings, and who have provided insight. As we continue to be flexible with our response plans, know that we will not wavier on our commitment to educate your children.

    I will keep you updated with news as we learn it.

    Sincerely,
    Eric

    Comments (-1)
  • August 14, 2021 Email - COVID Update Following County Mask Order

    Posted by Tim Savoy on 8/14/2021

    Dear Hays CISD Family,

    Late Friday, our county government joined other counties in Texas in issuing a mask mandate, which includes schools and buses. Since this order is in contravention of the governor’s order and some lower courts at the end of the week have sided with counties, we anticipate the Texas Supreme Court to take up the issue very soon – likely early in the week and before our classes begin on Thursday. Historically regarding COVID, the Texas Supreme Court has sided with the governor. So, we will continue to watch these legal developments very closely. The court decisions will tell us what we must do. They will not tell us what we should do.

    COVID cases in school-aged children in the county are up 130% in the last two weeks. The Delta variant is filling up hospitals. By most measures, if not all, this surge is worse than what we faced at the beginning of last school year. What we should do is wear masks. Wearing a mask violates no law or order. It is the safe thing to do medically and legally. While we await a decision on whether not wearing a mask violates the law, we will continue to urge parents to send their children to school in masks – especially at the elementary school level where vaccines are not yet an option. The data shows that this surge is primarily affecting the unvaccinated. So, at the secondary level, for children 12 and older, we urge parents to take advantage of a tool we know works in protecting students – vaccines.

    As I told you last week, I will continue to be straightforward with you in my communication. And, we will do what we need to do to keep children and staff as safe as possible, but we must do it in a way that respects the ultimate decisions made under law. We cannot have chaos and blatant defiance. That serves no one – especially our children. Sadly, the issue of masks is fully entrenched in adult politics. I, along with your locally elected school board, will continue to keep the well-being of your children and our students as the focus.

    We must also respect each other. What I don’t want to see is children fighting in the halls or on the playgrounds. We are a very diverse family. We are better than the division. We are better than the rhetoric. We can be the example. We can be kind to one another. We are stronger together.

    Our school district attorneys will be providing us with legal counsel that will guide us in our “must do” decisions. We are educators not lawyers. Know, however, that being in the education business – we, as a collective group of staff, parents, intelligent students and teachers, and locally connected leaders – are capable of solving problems and finding creative solutions that fit within the rules. That’s what we do every day. There’s a way to solve this. Granted, our options are much more limited than last year and it will be a bigger challenge, but we will do this. We will keep our family safe. I am working through the weekend with our leadership team and we’ll convene on Monday to make decisions. As soon as we have additional information to announce, I will share that with you.

    Sincerely,
    Eric Wright
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • August 11, 2021 Email: Hays CISD COVID Update & Superintendent Video Message

    Posted by Tim Savoy on 8/11/2021

     

    Dear Hays CISD Family,

    Let me first thank all of you who have reached out to us via email and our engagement platforms on the web in advance of tomorrow morning’s Board meeting. We have many parents who want us to defy the governor’s mask order and many others who are demanding that we don’t.

    We have a diverse district with passionate parents. That is our strength. Though it may seem that we are divided, I know that through open discussion and fervent advocacy for children – our students – we have always found the best pathway through any challenge. We all share passion and a desire to make the best decisions for our children. We all want to protect both the safety of students and the rights of families to make health and education decisions that work with the varied array of individual and collective needs in our community. And, we all wanted to have a relatively normal start to the school year.

    I’ll be the first to admit that as late as last Friday, I was trying to hold tight to the hope that we weren’t going to have a disrupted year. We were still operating under the rule that only unvaccinated people were required to wear masks. By Monday, it was impossible to ignore the data and the reality we are facing with the Delta Variant of COVID. By most measures, we’re in a worse situation now than we were at the start of last school year. By other measures, such as the number of available hospital beds in our region and the number of children affected by the disease, we are in a worse situation now than at any other time during the pandemic – including the winter 2020 spike.

    As we continue to refine and adjust our safety protocols, we will do everything we can to make decisions that are the most protective of children, while having the least possible restrictive or disruptive effects. That means we aren’t going to make blanket cancellation decisions, but we will require safety plans for field trips and events. Currently, we have a 50% capacity in place at our athletic venues. We’ll lift that as soon as we can – especially for our outdoor venues like our stadiums. All will depend on the data in the coming weeks – not the emotion and not the politics.

    Our newest version of our safety plan is on the web tonight. The highlights haven’t changed since last Monday’s email. We have primarily provided more specifics. View the plan at: https://www.hayscisd.net/COVIDplan.  View all of our COVID information at: www.hayscisd.net/coronavirus.

    Let me address masks. As I have been making my traditional back-to-school rounds with members of the media today, I have been asked whether we will issue a mask mandate. My answer continues to be no. It’s not because I don’t believe that masks will make a difference. I know that they will. It’s not because I don’t want people to wear masks – I most certainly do. However, I have always been straightforward with you and I am not going to stop today. You deserve the truth.

    Without the ability to enforce a mask mandate, I think saying we have one is disingenuous. What would the first day of school look like if we had a mandate and one or more students - or half of the campus – showed up without masks? We cannot evict students or deny entry based on their compliance with a district mask mandate. I don’t want parents to hear that we have a mask mandate and then have a false sense of security that everyone at school will be wearing a mask. We know, and the numbers will vary by campus, that some students will not be masked. I suspect if we tried to defy the governor, we’d probably increase the number of mask-less people on campus who would want to challenge us for challenging the governor.

    As much as I do not like the fact that our state leadership has not let our locally elected school boards have the power to determine the best approach with masks; and, as much as I believe that vaccinations plus masks are the only two ways out of this pandemic; I cannot expect anyone to follow any of our rules if we teach our children, or allow ourselves, to pick and choose which rules count and which do not.

    We are carefully watching what is happening legally regarding masks. It is in the court system and I know we’ll have an answer soon. Depending on what happens legally, we will reconsider our options if we are able.

    We have fewer options to offer you than we had last year, but we will get through this. I am still hopeful that the speed bump at the start of this school year will only last a matter of weeks rather than months. We’ll take it a day at a time and I’ll keep you informed.

    In addition to emails as frequently as needed; every week, I do a video message called “Wright This Minute.” In this week’s edition, I talk about masks and our remote learning option. Check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILACwkejvsA.

    Stay tuned and stay safe!

    Sincerely,
    Eric

    Comments (-1)
  • August 9, 2021 Email: Hays CISD COVID Response Update

    Posted by Tim Savoy on 8/9/2021

    Dear Hays CISD Family,

    This afternoon and this evening, district leadership and the district’s COVID Response Task Force met to make decisions regarding the district’s response to the Delta variant surge in COVID cases. We pledge to do whatever we can, even if we’re not required by the state, to ensure that safety is paramount. The following protocols will begin on Monday, August 16, 2021:

    Close Contact Tracing & Informing Parents About Positive Cases

    The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is not requiring school districts to conduct close contact tracing. Hays CISD will do it anyway. The district is also not required to report positive cases, but the district will provide notification to you anyway. And, we will report them on the district's COVID dashboard. 

    Close Contact & Positive Case Quarantine

    If a staff member or student tests positive, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, they will be required to quarantine (currently 10 days). Students and teachers who have not tested positive, but have been determined to have been in close contact with a person who tested positive, will be required to quarantine if they have not been vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals who have not tested positive, but are considered a close contact, will not have to quarantine.

    “Remote Conferencing for Students” – the New Virtual Learning for Positive Cases

    TEA will allow school districts to offer what is considered “remote conferencing” for students while they are out on required quarantine. This is will be a continuation of their current class work for a brief time period at home. It will combine asynchronous learning with access to a Hays CISD certified teacher. These teachers will not be the regular teachers for the students. They will instead be dedicated, separate teachers, who are focusing on students in remote conferencing.

    Hays CISD Will Urge People to Wear Masks

    The governor has decreed that school districts cannot require masks at schools. Last week, Hays CISD strongly recommended them. This week, the district is urging people to wear them at school.

    Some have reached out to the district asking that it defy the governor’s mask order. At this time, I believe that without any enforcement power, which the district does not have, we cannot actually “require” masks.

    Homebound Academy Instruction

    The district is continuing its Homebound Academy program for learners who have a doctor’s permission to learn from home during this wave of the pandemic. 

    Limiting Large Gatherings

    The district is declaring a moratorium on non-essential, large gatherings. Where possible, the district will begin limiting large gatherings until such time as the district determines (in consultation with medical and safety experts) that this wave of COVID has safely subsided. This means the district's annual convocation that was originally scheduled for next Monday has been canceled. Additionally, next Monday’s professional development training for teachers and staff will be either offered remotely or decentralized at home campuses. Elementary meet the teacher nights will now be virtual. Check with your campus for more information about changes to specific events.

    Stadium Capacity

    The district will enforce a 50% cap on fan capacity at athletic venues, including Shelton Stadium. Current ticket sales will be honored, but fans will be spread out for social distancing safety. If more than 50% of tickets have not been sold for a particular venue, the venue will cap sales at 50% capacity.

    Visitors

    The district will be closing campuses to regular visitors and all non-essential personnel in an effort to limit the number of people in each building until such time as the district determines (in consultation with medical and safety experts) that this wave of COVID has safely subsided. 

    Self-Screening

    All staff and students will be expected to continue with self-screening for symptoms. If someone has COVID symptoms, such as a fever, they must stay home. 

    Additional Safety Protocols

    The district has additional protocols online (cleaning, sanitizing, etc.), as well as all other coronavirus information conveniently located at: www.hayscisd.net/coronavirus.

    ---

    The best advice is to get vaccinated if you qualify. We can speed up our return to normalcy by encouraging everyone to get shots. Looking at the graphs of new cases for the state and for Hays County, we are seeing numbers that are not as high as the peak last winter, but they are higher than what we saw at the start of last school year. This is not the way we wanted to start the 2021 -2022 school year, but we will make the best of it. And we will make safety decisions that are in the best interest of our students, families, and our staff. We continue to be Hays CISD Strong!

    Stay tuned and stay safe.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Eric Wright 
    Superintendent

    Comments (-1)