EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Gadsden Independent School District Board of Trustees on Thursday night unanimously approved keeping all students on an online format for the entire 2020 Fall semester.
The Board’s decision comes after receiving data indicating an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the area, combined with the effect of the recent death of a GISD teacher due to COVID-19.
“This is a very difficult decision we all have to make, but the numbers keep climbing up in our area. We were looking for a two-week decline in the number, but that’s not there,” said GISD Superintendent Travis Dempsey. “All our teachers want to be with their students, but that has to be in a safe manner. If I bring them back, what have we accomplished if positive cases continue?”
Dempsey gave the Board a report from the GISD District Nursing Department that showed 44 employees currently on self-quarantine, 22 positive cases since July 1 and three employees hospitalized due to COVID symptoms.
Dempsey also reported to the Board that he met with the Special Education staff, who were preparing for a possible return of their students Oct. 19, and found that many were concerned about the risk of possible exposure to and from students if they would have returned.
The Board also approved the suspension of grading policy IKA-R and adopted a grading scale that supports students’ ability to succeed during continued online instruction.
Called an Equitable Grading Scale, it sets an F at no lower than a 50, a D no lower than a 60, C at 70-79, B at 80-89 and an A at 90-100.
“We are in unprecedented times. We have never been here before, so we have to look at all those different ways all our students can catch up,” Dempsey said.
As part of the health information provided at the meeting, GISD Nursing Department announced a Oct. 28 Flu Shot Clinic that will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Gadsden Middle School for all employees and their family members.
The clinic will include flu, pneumonia, shingles, and vaccinations for children who have been pre-registered.