At the beginning of the summer, our team spent some time thinking through contingency plans and what back to school would look like for the 2020–2021 school year. Now that it’s the end of the summer, schools are sharing their reopening plans, and we have a better sense of how the school year will start. Here, we are going to analyze the BASIS Charter Schools reopening plan, Families Choose in 2020–21. In other posts this month, we will look at reopening plans from other charter schools and schools of choice.
In the COVID-19 era, school reopening plans tend to contain some common elements. As schools of choice, they offer parents the option of distance learning or sending their kids to school on campus—provided that local conditions warrant in-person opening. The plans paint a picture of how distance learning will work in the coming school year, building on what schools learned in the spring. They also describe safety procedures to protect students, teachers, and staff on campus, including what to do in case of an outbreak. Schools also need to ensure that all students, regardless of their families’ economic situation, have full access to distance learning.
Parent Choice: Distance Learning or On Campus
Once schools are able to safely open their campuses for in-person instruction, BASIS Charter School families can choose between distance learning and on-campus instruction. Parents can make the choice at the beginning of the school year; if they want to switch, they can do that between grading periods.
Distance Learning at BASIS Charter Schools
For families who choose distance learning at BASIS Charter Schools, the 2020–2021 school year will offer the network’s full curriculum and rigor, with comparable pacing to pre-COVID instruction.
Distance learning will have a structured school day with pre-planned start and end times. Students will watch some pre-recorded videos, participate in some live instruction with teachers, and do some independent work. Teachers are available to answer questions by chat during the regularly scheduled class time or can start live sessions then as well.
BASIS Charter Schools will continue to use Microsoft Teams and their proprietary SPORK platform to deliver distance learning. Starting in the fall, students in grades 9–12 will be able to use video and audio in Teams.
Teachers will track attendance and participation. Assignments and tests will count towards a students’ grade for the course.
Students on Campus at BASIS Charter Schools
When students come back on campus, BASIS Charter Schools will use a full panoply of procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Families will screen students for symptoms at home and sign a form. Students who come to school without a form will go to a different door for screening, including temperature checks.
Students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they enter the building, and repeatedly during the school day.
Students will stay in smaller groups to minimize cross-interaction. For grades K–8, students will stay with class groups and eat lunch in their classrooms. For grades 9–10, students will be scheduled in clusters to minimize movement throughout the building.
The campuses will have upgrades to their HVAC systems. Staff will use enhanced cleaning measures, including regularly wiping down frequently used areas during the day, and utilizing electrostatic sprayers for disinfecting nightly.
The network of BASIS Charter Schools has an incident response plan for what to do when a student, teacher, or staff member has COVID-19 symptoms, or a suspected or confirmed case. Such students will be isolated from other students until their parents pick them up, and they will need to stay off campus until they are cleared to return, according to CDC guidelines. Recovering students can work from home temporarily, or they can switch to distance learning for the remainder of the grading period.
Digital Divide and Accessibility
Families who need scheduling flexibility for distance learning can ask for exceptions so their students can participate after hours.
Families that do not have internet access or do not have access to compatible devices (the only requirements for the device are to be able to install the Microsoft Teams app and load the Chrome browser) will be able to contact their schools to assistance.
What to Expect at BASIS Charter Schools in 2020–2021
BASIS Charter Schools made a rapid response to distance learning in the spring. Their school culture embraces technology and innovation.
The back to school plan for BASIS Charter Schools offers parents flexibility about distance learning and on-campus options—once it is safe to allow campuses to open. The distance learning program will offer the rigor and pacing of the usual BASIS Charter School education, with high expectations for students to work, participate, and grow. The procedures for on campus learning are designed with the safety of students, faculty, and staff in mind.
This fall, the network will open two new campuses in the region: BASIS San Antonio Northeast and BASIS Austin Primary, which will be the first BASIS Charter School in Austin (with additional campuses likely to open in the coming years). Families can enroll online.
BASIS Charter Schools has been hosting virtual events, including this event, BASIS San Antonio Northeast – We’re Ready for Anything, on June 15, 2020.
We have partnered with BASIS Charter Schools to offer tips for at-home learning activities for families. On Saturday, August 8, we teamed up with Yelp San Antonio for a virtual event featuring kitchen chemistry—making elephant toothpaste. Try making elephant toothpaste at home with this post by Audrey Hagopian, Regional Director of Primary Schools for BASIS.ed, or explore her weather science activities.
Charter Moms Chats
Listen to Petra Pajtas, COO of BASIS Charter Schools, talk with Inga Cotton about the BASIS Charter Schools reopening plan on Charter Moms Chats.
Read More About BASIS Charter Schools
- “Kitchen Chemistry: Weather Science,” Audrey Hagopian, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 21, 2020
- “Kitchen Chemistry: Elephant Toothpaste,” Audrey Hagopian, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 16, 2020
- “Living With Uncertainty: 2020 Back to School Contingency Plans,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, May 26, 2020
- “Distance Learning: Five Survival Tips From the Homefront,” Rebecca Scarpino, San Antonio Charter Moms, May 6, 2020
- “Remote Education at BASIS Charter Schools,” Andrew Sterbenz, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 29, 2020
- “BASIS Shavano School Profile,” San Antonio Charter Moms, November 26, 2020
- “BASIS Medical Center School Profile,” San Antonio Charter Moms, November 19, 2020
- “Guide to Enrolling in BASIS Texas Schools in San Antonio for 2020–21,” San Antonio Charter Moms, October 22, 2019
- “BASIS San Antonio Primary Offers Rigorous Education to Elementary School Students,” San Antonio Charter Moms, December 17, 2017
Read More About Schools Reopening
- “Information for Residents: Remote Learning for Schools,” City of San Antonio
- “Bexar County Health Authority Amended Health Directive”, August 7, 2020
- “COVID-19 Support: Public Health Orders,” Texas Education Agency (TEA)
- “Considerations for Schools,” Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
- “Anne Frank Inspire Academy Reopening Plan 2020–2021,” San Antonio Charter Moms, September 1, 2020
- “What Boerne ISD Has Learned From Having Students on Campus During COVID-19,” San Antonio Charter Moms, September 3, 2020
- Coming soon: KIPP Texas—San Antonio Back to School
- Coming soon: IDEA Public Schools—San Antonio Back to School
- Coming soon: Compass Rose Public Schools Back to School