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HANDBOOK FINAL_Return to In-Person Instruction Continuity of Services Handbook
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Garland Independent School District

Return to In-Person Instruction
& Continuity of Services Plan


These guidelines are subject to change based on CDC guidance.

Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan


If you have difficulty accessing the information in this document because of disability, please contact the Communications Department at 972-487-3256.

 Table of Contents

Letter from Dr. López        6

Public Health Considerations        7

Academic Calendar        8

PROVIDE NOTICE: Parental and Public Notices        9

COVID-19 Champions        9

Attendance and Enrollment        9

On-Campus Instruction        9

PREVENT: Practices to Prevent the Virus from Entering the School        10

Visitor Access/Screening/PPE Requirements        10

Student Pick-Up During the Instructional Day        11

Health Clinic Guidelines        11

Student, Teacher and Staff Safety Training        11

Off-Campus Student Events        11

On-Campus Events        12

RESPOND: Practices to Respond to a Test-Confirmed Case in the School        13

Screening, Isolation and Return to Campus After Exposure        13

Known Exposure        14

MITIGATE: Practices to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 Inside the School        16

Color Levels        16

Face Coverings        16

Disinfecting and Hand Sanitizing        17

Special Considerations for Students with Respiratory Health Conditions        18

Special Considerations for Students with Special Needs        18

Communicable Disease Monitoring        19

Other Excludable Conditions        20

Notifications        20

Classroom Configurations and Procedures        20

Common Areas        21

Water Fountains        21

Ventilation         21

Transportation        22

Student Meals: Breakfast & Lunch        22

Recess        23

Specials        23

Social Emotional Student Supports        24

Employee Wellness        25

Employee Clinic        25

More Resources        25

Letter from Dr. López

As we head into the 2021-22 school year, I cannot wait to be reunited with the best students and staff in our state and nation. GISD continues to lead the way with student opportunities and educational excellence.

GISD’s Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan provides details about procedures and safety requirements that have been created for the well-being of students, staff and visitors. This is our top priority. We are also committed to the district’s board goal of ensuring ALL students graduate prepared for college, careers and life.

This handbook includes guidance on the following:

Please note that our handbook is subject to change based on CDC guidance and executive orders. We are living in unprecedented times and must remain flexible. As guidelines and orders change from local, state and federal authorities, Garland ISD will adjust, but rest assured, our focus will always remain on doing what is best for students and staff.

I look forward to seeing each of you as we begin this journey together in 2021-22.

Charge on,

Ricardo López, Ed.D.

Proud Garland ISD Superintendent

Public Health Considerations

The virus that causes COVID-19 can infect people of all ages, which is why Garland ISD is doing everything feasible to keep students, teachers, staff and community members safe. Research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that while children can be infected by COVID-19 and severe outcomes have been reported, relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized or have severe symptoms. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that COVID-19 risks must be balanced with the need for children to attend school in person, given that lack of physical access to school leads to a number of negative consequences, placing, “children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity, and in some cases, mortality.”

While it is not possible to eliminate all risks of furthering the spread of COVID-19, GISD will utilize current science to take every step possible to significantly reduce the risks to students, teachers, staff and their families.

The following changes have been made to the 2021-22 protocols:

 Academic Calendar

2021-22 Calendar: English - Spanish - Vietnamese

PROVIDE NOTICE: Parental and Public Notices

All Texas public schools are required to provide parents a summary of the plan that will be followed to mitigate COVID-19 spread in schools based on the requirements and recommendations outlined in the Texas Education Agency’s SY 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance document.

This GISD handbook was developed in consultation with teachers, staff and parents, and contains required notices on the following pages. Garland ISD provides this handbook, updated in real-time on a weekly, daily, and sometimes hourly basis, depending on local, state, and federal guidance.

Garland ISD received input from nurses and administrators on May 20, 2021; input from elementary, middle, and high school students in the first two weeks of June 2021; input from community members in early June 2021 via ListServ; more input from students, staff, and families on June 4, 2021, via online survey; and input from the entire community at a public meeting on June 22, 2021.  Many adjustments were made as a result of the input from teachers, staff, and parents, e.g., keeping Plexiglas, adding back a small number of field trips, continuation of virtual ARD meetings, etc.

COVID-19 Champions

Every campus and department is assigned a COVID Champion. COVID-19 Champions, as well as Health Services, are designated staff that are available to answer concerns or questions related to all things COVID-19.

Attendance and Enrollment

Education Code requires students to attend class 90 percent of the days the class is offered in order to be awarded credit.

On-Campus Instruction

GISD is returning to full on-campus face-to-face instruction in the fall of 2021. Canvas and Seesaw will still be used to support teaching and learning in both on- campus and virtual instructional models.

PREVENT: Practices to Prevent the Virus from

Entering the School

The prevention practices outlined on the following pages are designed to significantly reduce the likelihood that a coronavirus outbreak occurs on campus. Consistently implementing recommendations of the CDC, health department and Texas Education Agency to the extent feasible is the best way to reduce the potential negative impact of infection.

Visitor Access/Screening/PPE Requirements

Student Pick-Up During the Instructional Day

Health Clinic Guidelines

Student, Teacher and Staff Safety Training

Students, teachers and staff will complete Return-to-School Training that includes:

Off-Campus Student Events

On-Campus Events

RESPOND: Practices to Respond to a

Test-Confirmed Case in the School

The response practices outlined on the following pages are in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. GISD will continue to notify the local health department, GISD staff and the Texas Department of State Health Services upon receipt of information that there has been a test-confirmed COVID-19 case on campus.

Screening, Isolation and Return to Campus After Exposure

Parents are required to screen their student(s) for fever or COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto Campus. If they have COVID-19 symptoms or are test-confirmed with COVID-19, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below.

Students, staff or household members with the following symptoms, not related to a current known health condition, will not be allowed to enter campus:

If a student fails screening, a medical doctor’s note or other appropriate documentation will be required to return to campus.

All students, staff and visitors who become ill while on campus will be immediately isolated, and the area will be disinfected.

Teachers and staff are required to self-screen for fever or COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto campus each day. Teachers and staff must report to their supervisor if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms or are test-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below. Additionally, teachers and staff must report to the school system if they have had close contact with an individual who is test- confirmed with COVID-19.

Known Exposure

Vaccinated students/staff with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:

Persons who have had COVID-19 within the last three months are not required to quarantine as long as they have remained asymptomatic since current COVID-19 exposure.

Unvaccinated Students who have had known close contact to a person who is test-confirmed with COVID-19, will not be allowed to return to work or school until the end of the 10-day self-quarantine period from the last date of exposure. Shortened quarantine of seven days may occur if school is presented with a negative PCR (this is NOT a rapid test) completed on day 5 after exposure.

Unvaccinated staff, without symptoms, may participate in the district's Rapid/PCR testing program, with Health Services approval.

Students or employees who have had known close contact to a person within a GISD facility who is test-confirmed with COVID-19 may participate in the

COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program. Health Services staff will determine eligibility based on type of exposure. This program is voluntary. Staff and students who do not want to participate in the testing program will be required to quarantine for the remainder of the 10-day period. Symptom monitoring must continue for the full 14-day incubation period. Updated 8/13

Close contact is defined as:

Individuals are presumed infectious at least two days prior to symptom onset or, in the case of asymptomatic individuals who are test-confirmed with COVID-19, two days prior to confirming lab tests.

If diagnosed with COVID-19 either by a positive test or assumed positive based on symptoms, the following criteria must be met to return to a GISD facility:

If the individual has symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 and wants to return to work or school before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must either:

If the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 and believes the test was a false positive and wants to return to school before completing the above stay-at-home period, the individual must either:

Results from a COVID-19 test administered at home will NOT be accepted.

MITIGATE: Practices to Mitigate the Spread of

COVID-19 Inside the School

The mitigation practices that follow utilize best practices and current research in lessening the spread of COVID-19. GISD will implement health and hygiene practices with fidelity.

COVID-19 Color Levels

In collaboration with the Garland Health Department, we have implemented a tricolor level system to alert families of location-based safety measures. If a color level is enacted for their student’s campus, families will receive a notification detailing yellow- or red-level restrictions. See the Color Level Chart

Face Coverings

Disinfecting and Hand Sanitizing


sanitizer stations are located in every classroom and by elevators, entrances and high-traffic areas.

Special Considerations for Students with Respiratory Health Conditions

Special Considerations for Students with Special Needs

Communicable Disease Monitoring

Other Excludable Conditions

Garland ISD will continue to follow all Board policies and Texas Department of State Health Services and local guidelines concerning communicable disease

reporting and exclusion from school. Refer to 25 Tex. Admin. Code § 97.7 for further information.


Classroom Configurations and Procedures

minimum of three feet apart when possible. If possible, students’ desks will face the same direction rather than facing each other.

Common Areas

Water Fountains



Bus transportation is provided for Special Education students when required by the students ARD and IEP. All general education students will be provided transportation if eligible from the designated transportation areas to each campus or if they are enrolled in an eligible magnet program at one of the many magnet campuses in the district.

Transportation is not guaranteed to your school of choice if you do not reside in a designated transportation area for that campus. Parents can view the transportation areas at the following link GISD Bus Eligibility Link.

Student Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

GISD is encouraging cashless payments. Make payments at PayPAMS. Visit our Temporary Virtual Learning page for more information about curbside meal pickup.

For students receiving on-campus instruction, each campus will establish meal service that meets the following criteria:



Social Emotional Student Supports

GISD counselors are available to support students academically, socially and emotionally. Counselors are prepared and ready to provide mental health support and resources for families who may be struggling emotionally. These services may be provided remotely or face-to-face. To provide families with free or low-cost face-to-face and telehealth services, Garland ISD has numerous partnerships with local community-based counseling agencies. Access to schedule a meeting with a GISD counselor or to find a list of local counseling-based resources can be found on our district’s website. Family resources, such as Coping With COVID, Virtual Counseling, and Social Emotional Learning, can also be found at GISD Counseling Resources Link.

In addition to providing individual and group counseling, the Guidance and Counseling Department also provides behavioral health and wellness-based classroom guidance lessons for all students. These lessons include the following:

Social Emotional Learning lessons are offered to GISD students to develop important skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. The lessons include remote self-paced learning using the EverFi platform, in conjunction with a synchronous component being utilized by teachers via face-to-face instruction.

Employee Wellness

GISD offers health and wellness resources for employees in the following ways:

Please visit the GISD Employee Wellness Link or contact the Employee Wellness Department for support and resources at or 972-487- 3164.

For vaccine information, click here: City of Garland Vaccination Information

Employee Clinic

The Employee Clinic is currently taking patients by appointment only. Contact the Employee Clinic to make an appointment at 972-487-4567. Visit the Employee Clinic website for clinic information, FAQs and current clinic protocols. Email the Employee Clinic with additional questions at

More Resources

For more information, including COVID-19 Vaccinations and Temporary Virtual Learning, see the COVID-19 page on the district website.