While Brenham ISD students remain dismissed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the district is working quickly to provide them with learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Following an informative discussion on COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, provided by local health officials during Monday’s BISD board of trustees meeting at Brenham High School, talks turned to what educators are doing to bring education to students during the district’s shutdown.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Jamey Johnson spoke to the board and assured members that BISD teachers are busy creating contingency plans while the shutdown continues.

“We know that we have wonderful teachers and principals in our district, and our teachers were already reaching out to parents,” Johnson said, who added that she’s working with the Texas Department of Curriculum and Instruction to devise a game plan. “But what we want to ensure happens is we don’t overwhelm parents with information, so starting this past Friday, we worked on a district resource list.”

Johnson said BISD parents will be directed toward that resource list, which is available on the BISD website’s COVID-19 information page, which can be found at www.brenhamisd.net/page/covid.home.

“We have to be prepared that education is going to look a little different for a while,” she said. “It may be a little uncomfortable, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t get through this, and it doesn’t mean that our students won’t continue to grow.

“It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just different.”

Johnson also said the district is discussing plans to provide education for students through online outlets, and added consideration is being taken for students who may have unreliable internet access or none at all.

If and when online coursework is created for students, BISD Director of Information Technology Kim Strauss, who also spoke to the board Monday, said the district’s technology department is working on ways to provide internet hotspots for students.

Strauss said Brenham Junior High feeds enough WiFi through its campus to allow filtered access from the campus parking lot, and said Cub Stadium also has filtered WiFi access which could be made available to students.

While the district is already handling the fallout of the waiving of the state’s STAAR testing requirements, Johnson said BISD is still awaiting word on what will be done in regards to accountability ratings.

Also in session Monday, the board unanimously approved the employment of Kim Rocka as principal of Brenham Elementary School.

BISD Superintendent Walter Jackson said Rocka, who assumed the position on an interim basis prior to this school year, has 23 years of education experience, 13 of which have been spent in Brenham ISD as an assistant principal and principal at BES.

The board also unanimously approved all administrative contracts.

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