Schools suspended for coronavirus


Sarah Brager, editor, photographer

Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the country, Hays CISD is joining other districts in the suspension of all in-person classes and activities. Chief Communications Officer Tim Savoy sent out an official statement on March 16 saying that normal school operations will be put on hold until April 5. After spring break, students will be expected to participate in online instruction at home, but for now, the district is primarily concerned with preventing further outbreak.

“We want to stress the importance of social/physical distancing and preventative measures such as hand washing during this time,” Savoy said in his statement.

On March 25, specific information will go out to the public regarding at-home instruction and meal service for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Students on this meal plan will continue to receive meals from the district, but for now, details on how that distribution will work are not clear. The district also intends to continue paying its employees during this emergency suspension, and paycheck deposits will occur as scheduled.

“Hays CISD is prepared to navigate this emergency and will be making decisions based on the best interests of community safety and health,” Savoy said.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the school life and personal life of students. Because the Circuit of the Americas announced its closing, prom will either be cancelled, or rescheduled at a new location. Right now it is unclear what the school will decide to do. Extracurricular activities and many school trips, such as the band cruise to Mexico, are also cancelled because of the outbreak.

“This includes, for example, all special events, UIL competitions, gatherings, after-school and in-school activities, and meetings,” Savoy said in a statement sent out on March 13.

AP students were recently notified by College Board that testing will proceed so students may receive their earned credit; however, this will not take place in the traditional in-person setting. College Board is working on developing an online version of the test that only covers material that students learned in class prior to spring break. Their goal is to ensure all AP students have the opportunity to test for credit if desired.

“Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies,” College Board said in an update on March 20.

The rest of the school year may be rocky, but the district is prepared to handle each situation that COVID-19 brings. It’s clear that students will not miss out on opportunities to receive credit for courses this year, meaning they will still be able to graduate. The district emphasized that students not worry too much about the upcoming months – what’s important right now is that they remain safe and healthy.

“Now more than ever, Hays CISD employees and leadership will hold steadfast to our mission, which includes the word ‘nurture’ in the very first sentence,” Savoy said.