Joshua ISD Prepares to Start School Year During Pandemic

About 30% of students in Joshua ISD will start the year online, for those who attend classes in person there are changes in schools.

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The school year is starting a little later in the Joshua Independent School District. The district delayed the start from this week to Aug. 31 to allow more time to get 'hot spots' so 30% of the students who will be attending classes online at home have internet access.

For those students attending in-person, there are changes on campuses.

"There is that fear of the unknown," Joshua ISD Director of Communications and Public Relations Zoheb Hassanali said. "We have clearly communicated the steps that we were taking to ensure their safety and well-being."

The district marked floors with social distancing reminders. Classroom desks are spaced apart. Cafeterias are set up so students don't sit across from one another. There is a quarantine room for anyone exhibiting symptoms, and relocation rooms for the rest of the class to move to in order to continue their school day.

"We want the kids back, but we're in a pandemic. This is a serious situation and people need to take it seriously," 3rd grader teacher Teresa Curlee said. Curlee had COVID-19 in early July, and has since recovered. "I didn't go to the hospital, but I considered it a few times."

Curlee said part of her curriculum will include lessons about COVID-19.

"I know most of them know what's going on by now, but we have some books that we'll read on the first day about social distancing, about wearing a mask, about how cool it can be," Curlee said. "Try to make everything as positive and as normal as possible, under the circumstances."

Hassanali said the school district will consult the health department and neighboring school districts during the school year, and make adjustments as needed.

"We love the kids," Curlee said. "We're here for the kids."

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