Parents of school age children in the Fort Hood area have been waiting all summer to see how local public schools would conduct classes this fall. Would it be in-person classes? Online only? Many of those questions have been answered this week with releases from Killeen and Copperas Cove school districts. It turns out the answer is both.

Killeen ISD starts on Aug. 17 and will allow parents to choose from either traditional, in-person instruction or virtual learning, according to their press release. Both school districts said this plan was a result of a lot of hard work by administers, staff and faculty of the local school districts.

“We have had a team working since March 14,” Taina Maya, KISD chief of communications, said. “From the very beginning, because there have been so many unknowns, but once it became clear we weren’t coming back from Spring Break, the focus immediately became fall.”

From then until now, the school districts have been working feverishly to make a plan that works for everyone – at one point over the summer working 19 days straight.

KISD recognized the challenge of keeping parents informed during a time when plans may be changed by decrees from the governor or county judge. The district completely overhauled its communication system over the summer in hopes of meeting the challenge. The new system quickly sends out text messages, phone calls, emails, social media posts, and messages to local television, and radio stations, as well as local newspapers to quickly get the word out.

The information below is accurate at the time of publishing, but Maya recommends checking the school district’s website every couple of days for the latest information.

“Everything is in flux,” she said, “but one thing that I know for sure is that there will be instruction this fall.”

Students headed to school this fall will see additional safety and health precautions put into place throughout KISD schools. These include additional cleaning protocols and personal protective equipment use. The district will also allow a student to seamlessly transition to online instruction should the situation warrant.

KISD virtual learning will allow students to engage in live, online lessons and recorded lessons as well. Students and teachers will keep a normal school day schedule. Students and parents will be trained to operate the various virtual learning platforms, such as Schoology and Zoom. Even though the classes are online, attendance, assignments, assessments, and grades will be both expected and required.

If parents have not already informed the school of their intent, that form is due to the school by Monday. This will allow KISD to plan and allocate resources accordingly.

Copperas Cove Independent School District has almost identical on-campus and at-home learning options, according to their website. Parents’ intent was due back to the school Wednesday. Parents will have a chance to make their final commitment on Aug. 3, through a special registration link that will be sent out via email. Responses to that notice are due by 4 p.m. Aug. 6.

KISD and CCISD will both offer electronic devices to families participating in online learning, should they be needed.

Both districts will be encouraging social distancing and increasing hygiene efforts throughout all their campuses. Face coverings will be allowed, if not further mandated by state or local authorities.

Cafeterias will remain open, and buses will still run at both districts, but with new protocols.

For more detailed information about the KISD Return to Learn plan, visit https://www.killeenisd.org/RTL.

The latest information about the CCISD Return to School 2020 plan, can be found online here at https://www.ccisd.com/backtoschool.