Round Rock ISD to begin school year in August, first three weeks will be virtual

Round Rock Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores has outlined some of the district's plans for the 2020-21 school year.

At last night's school board meeting, Flores said the district will start school virtually during the first three weeks. He says that will give the district time to see if conditions have improved and to make sure campuses are ready to welcome back students and staff.

Round Rock ISD will begin the year on Thursday, August 20 and Flores says they currently have no plans to alter school breaks or extend the year.

In a letter that was sent out, Flores also said they are currently designing structures to ensure students, teachers and families are prepared to transition between face-to-face, blended and all-virtual learning environments. The district is doing the following to do this: 

  • Assessing needs for additional Chromebooks and hotspots to ensure equitable access to technology.
  • Transitioning curriculum, instruction, and assessment into a learning management platform that is user-friendly for students, educators, and families.
  • Redesigning curriculum, instruction, assessment, and grading practices.
  • Designing an all-virtual learning option for families who desire an at-home learning experience.
  • Analyzing campus capacities and determining what percentage of students can safely be on campus at a given time to create a plan for learning.

Round Rock ISD will have an on-site coordinator for each campus to oversee all sanitation and ensure new protocols are followed, and will also be:

  • Installing additional hands-free sanitizer stations
  • Installing water bottle filling stations
  • Designating isolation rooms and student isolation protocols
  • Training all District and campus staff in sanitation and cleaning of high-touch surfaces and other areas
  • Installing plexiglass shields where needed
  • Implementing portable hand washing stations where needed
  • Upgrading HVAC systems air quality
  • Using hospital-grade disinfectant to continuously clean high touch areas and hospital-grade products to routinely fog classrooms and other areas
  • Contracting with GermBlast, an industry-leading disinfection and cleaning services company specializing in eradicating the spread of viral and bacterial infections

RELATED: Round Rock ISD holds one of the first in-person graduation ceremonies in Central Texas

Flores says a Task Force subcommittee is also designing processes to manage student arrival and reconfigure the space occupied on campus by students and staff to allow for social distancing. Their work includes examining:

  • Temperature checks upon arrival for each student, specifically, if adequate thermometers are available given worldwide equipment shortages
  • The feasibility of using masks and/or face shields during the school day
  • Decreasing student occupancy in each classroom
  • Staggering class start times to minimize the number of students in hallways and common areas

The District will register transportation students to determine family transportation needs and coordinate bus route capacities and accommodation limitations, according to the letter.

In terms of foodservice, Flores says students will pick up packaged breakfast in the cafeteria and eat in their classrooms. Checkout procedures will be adjusted to avoid the exchange of ID cards. Lunch service will continue in the cafeteria with limited numbers of students at each table.

Foodservice staff members are currently in the process of counting and measuring cafeteria tables to determine how many students can be in the space safely with a minimum of six feet apart, according to Flores' letter. Floor and table decals will be placed to indicate where students will stand while picking up their lunch and the seats they can occupy at each table. Foodservice staff will have their temperature verified each day and wear masks during all food preparation and service.

Flores says that Round Rock ISD will be hosting virtual town halls via Zoom in July and August, and that a detailed plan is expected to be shared in mid-July.

RELATED: Austin-area districts still planning for fall semester

"I know this is a difficult time, and our families and students want concrete answers on what the school year will bring," Flores said. "Our District and campus leadership are working on an adaptable plan that places student safety as the top priority and provides a platform for learning to continue on or off-campus. We understand the critical importance and value of students learning in a classroom setting and participating in activities with their peers.

"It is my utmost hope that we can return to that environment as soon as possible. But we also must provide options for students who are high risk, have family members who are high risk, or are not comfortable in a school setting absent a COVID-19 vaccine," he added.


FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at