The MAC Monthly
Campus Update 3.23.20
Message From the Principal
Dear McCallum Family,
What a strange and difficult time this is for everyone. Although it is certainly unprecedented and so much is still undecided, please know we are working diligently to more robustly build our online learning platform (BLEND) so that students can continue to learn. To be clear, classes are officially cancelled through April 3rd to give teachers enough time to accomplish this task. Should we have to delay the reopening of schools, online learning will begin on April 6th, 2020.
All additional functions scheduled to happen at McCallum HS through May 1st are cancelled. Students should not come to campus until further notice. If students left necessary items on campus we will deal with this on a case by case basis in order to ensure the health and safety for all. Parents and/or students needing assistance with accessing campus should contact his/her Assistant Principal via email.
Assistant Principal email address are listed below:
A-Cn: Sophia Sherline, email@example.com
Cn-Hd: Andy Baxa, firstname.lastname@example.org
He-Me: Gabe Reyes, email@example.com
Mi-Sd: Larry Featherstone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Se-Z: Tamara Stone, email@example.com
To the Class of 2020:
I hate this for you the most. My heart hurts that we aren't all together for every precious moment of your senior year. At this point, as I said above, major events are cancelled through May 1st. Unfortunately, this includes prom which was to be held April 25th. I will keep you all as up-to-date as I can in regards to major events scheduled for May.
Your heath and safety remains my number one concern. I love you and miss you all very much - but it is SO IMPORTANT that you take care of yourself during this time. Please stay safe and continue to make good decisions. Your MAC family cares about you, deeply.
We are dedicated to working with all of our students in order to ensure their success. Please be patient with us and we do all we can for the health, safety and success of all of our students.
We are in this together. #GoKnights
Principal Hosack Provides Update Through 'The Shield'
On Friday, March 20th, McCallum students Julia Kay Smith and Stella Shenkman interviewed Principal Brandi Hosack about the latest developments on how the district is adjusting its plans during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
The interview was published online in McCallum’s award-winning student newspaper, The Shield. Click here to access the article, which includes a link to the audio of the conversation with Principal Hosack.
AISD CLASSES ARE CANCELLED FROM MARCH 23RD THROUGH APRIL 3RD. WHILE PHYSICAL CAMPUSES ARE CLOSED, THIS SITE CAN OFFER OPTIONAL SHORT-TERM LEARNING AND ENRICHMENT FROM HOME.
Live Now! The Austin ISD Learning At-Home Website has launched.
As the community comes together, we are providing learning activities for you and your students while we are away from the classroom. The district has created this Learning At-Home website, complete with online courses and recommended learning resources for all grade levels. First and foremost, we want to ensure that our students are healthy and safe as we continue to connect as one AISD family.
This website is intended for caretakers, students, and teachers to access ideas for learning and enrichment opportunities.
The resources on this site are intended to provide optional enrichment during the current cancellation of classes. They are presented with community and human connection in mind.
Resources include a range of ideas for online and offline activities that students can work on at home independently, with family members, or with other adults. Some of these activities may require guidance from an adult to get started.
Next Wednesday, hand-on activities for elementary students will be available at the grab-on-go lunch sites that the district has organized for students who have limited access to devices and internet.
Please continue to check the AUSTIN ISD Coronavirus website for updates: austinisd.org/coronavirus
Spectrum and Comcast are offering free WIFI for K-12 students
Spectrum is offering free Wi-Fi and broadband access up to 100 MBPS to any household with K-12 and/or college students that doesn’t already have Spectrum. Installation fees will be waived for these households, and anyone wishing to enroll will need to call 1-844-488-8395.
Comcast is expanding a service they already offer for low-income families called Internet Essentials. The service, which is normally $9.95 a month, will be free for new customers for 60 days and is 25 MBPS. People hoping to sign up for the services can call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
Student Meals During School Closures
Curbside meal sites, open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, are listed below. Families are advised to stay in their cars and not enter buildings during meal pick up. Families do not need to be in a car to get the meals. Families who come by walking/biking/transit will still be able to receive food outside the campuses. For more information: https://www.austinisd.org/coronavirus/meals
Virtual Care for kids partners with AISD
If you wish to utilize this service please register your child at: https://urgentcarekids.com/aisd/
To see a provider please visit: https://urgentcarekids.com/pediatric-telemedicine-for-kids/
Vida Clinic - Mental Health Resources
Our school based mental health partner, Vida Clinic, is offering teletherapy services to the Austin ISD community beginning Wednesday, Mar. 18. These services will allow adults and students to access quality mental health services right from their own homes. To learn more or schedule services, contact our Vida Clinic Care Team at 512-518-2209 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, Integral Care has a 24/7 Crisis Helpline at 512-472-HELP (4357). You can also Text TX to 741741 to connect to Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support via text. Integral Care is also working with NAMI Central Texas to make sure the community has resources available during this challenging time. They will be posting helpful tools on their website this weekend, including tips and tools for managing stress and how to talk to your children about this uncertain time.
AUSTIN — The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is extending its suspension of all UIL sanctioned activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas. All contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts will remain suspended until further notice.
At this time, the earliest games and contests may resume is Monday, May 4th. Prior to this date, the UIL will allow its member schools a reasonable acclimatization period for rehearsals and practices to occur. All decisions remain flexible and will be consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials.
“We are working diligently on contingency plans to conduct state championships in each of the activities that have been suspended,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While the immediate future is unclear, we are committed to providing these much-desired activities to all Texas students and will prepare for all possible outcomes, including extended school closures.”
The UIL will continue to provide timely, ongoing updates and is reassessing this ever-changing situation daily. Please continue to check the UIL website and social media accounts for further updates.
Talking to your children about COVID-19/Coronavirus
Remain calm and reassuring.
- Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
- Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.
Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
Provide information that is honest and accurate.
- Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
- Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.
- Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
- Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff. (e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
- Get children into a handwashing habit.
- Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.
Facts about COVID-19 for discussions with children
Try to keep information simple and remind them that health and school officials are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.
What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.
- Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors think that most people will be ok, especially kids, but some people might get pretty sick.
- Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy.
What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19?
- You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.
- Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Keep things clean. Older children can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. (Note for adults: you can find more information about cleaning and disinfecting on CDC’s website.)
- If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.
Austin ISD - FAQs
Instruction - What does instructional continuity mean?
“Instructional Continuity” is a phrase introduced by the Texas Education Agency that
refers to the development of a specific plan to address “high absenteeism or school
closures for short-term or long-term periods of time.” As we receive more guidance from
TEA, the district will roll out more specific steps to meet the guidelines from the agency.
At this time, Austin ISD is working to ensure our students, families, and staff remain
safe and healthy in a time of significant disruption. The district is attending to our
students and our community’s basic needs first (e.g. prioritizing our students’ access to
food) while developing and distributing resources for engaging students in learning
How will parents receive learning standards, and resources after
spring break or once school starts on April 6? And, how will learning continue?
AISD is crafting resources for the home setting that provide connections and whole child
support. Resources will be available online. We are also preparing additional
resources and providing professional learning for teachers and staff to engage with
students in this new mode.
What is happening with Extra Curricular and Co-curricular Classes?
We are assessing how to best address these areas.
Instruction - How students in special education receive instruction?
The needs of special education students are a priority and we are working to provide
innovative ways to support students' individualized needs while keeping health and
Student Internet Access: Will our students have 1:1 and Internet access?
Currently, 1:1 devices have been provided to students in grades 8-12 and in five middle
schools. 7th and 8th grade students at these middle schools also have internet access
through the support of Verizon. 2,000 hotspots have also been provided in our high
schools through support from Sprint. 2,000 additional hotspots have been provided to
middle school libraries for student distribution.
AISD has installed hot spots on our buses and will be situated throughout our city for
students and staff to access.
Accountability - Do we have updates on EOC, STAAR, graduation requirements,
The Governor waived state law and requested a waiver from the United States
Department of Education (USDE) for all testing requirements for this year. STAAR will
not be administered by Texas Education Agency (TEA) this year. We will receive
guidance from TEA for grade level promotion and other issues related to this
assessment decision (e.g. graduating seniors this year, and in future years). TEA will
also be extending the TELPAS window for testing and processing and will ask for a
waiver from the USDE for local determinations to be used to guide English Language
determinations this year. The TEA communicated to expect more flexibility on TELPAS
as it continues to review the situation.
Child Nutrition - Will we continue to provide breakfast and lunch for students?
Starting March 23, meals will be available Monday-Friday. Curbside meals will be
offered at 16 sites. Austin ISD school buses will deliver meals throughout the
community at 54 locations. Sites were chosen based on 50 percent or more students
receiving meal benefits. We will have two different types of service:
1. Curbside- Parents/caregivers drive up in the parent drop off line to receive free,
chilled lunches for each child and parent/caregiver in the car to take home and
re-heat. Curbside meal sites, open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Families are advised to stay in their cars and not enter buildings during meal pick
2. Delivery - in partnership with the Transportation Department, four (4) kitchens will
produce chilled lunches to load on to busses and delivery in the community to
children and parents/caregivers to take home and re-heat.
As of March 18, the following locations have been identified for curbside service:
Blanton, Blackshear and Govalle elementary schools and Eastside Memorial
Early College High School
Cook Elementary School, Burnet and Dobie middle schools
TA Brown Elementary School and LBJ Early College High School
South Central Austin
Dawson and Linder elementary schools and Crockett Early College High School
Houston, Perez and Pleasant Hill elementary schools and Akins Early College
Food service staff are also arranging with the food bank for the non-serving sites to
pack boxes of food for food bank distribution through our transportation teams, so
everyone will be involved with creating food access.
Student Health Services - Will students continue to have access to TeleHealth
and how do they access it?
Due to the threat of COVID-19 and the growing need for medical care, Virtual Care for
Kids is making every effort to expand care to children across the state to help prevent
the spread of the virus. In addition to waiving all copays for telemedicine visits, all self-
pay visits will now be discounted to $50. Patients with Medicaid will be offered FREE or
low-cost telemedicine visits. The average wait for a virtual provider is currently 2
minutes or less. No need to expose your family to COVID-19. Visits are accessible
FROM HOME on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. On-demand telemedicine visits
are available from 9 AM - 9 PM every day of the week through Urgent Care for Kids.
Student Health Services - Will students have access to Teletherapy, Mental Health
Austin ISD's school-based mental health partner, Vida Clinic, is offering teletherapy
services to the Austin ISD community beginning Wednesday, March 18. These services
will allow adults and students to access quality mental health services right from their
own homes. To schedule an appointment, visit https://vidaclinic.org/virtualvida/ or
contact our Vida Clinic Care Team at 512-518-2209 or by email at
Student Health Services - How will we utilize our Seton nurses during this time?
AISD is collaborating with Seton to identify how health services staff can best support
students during this time.
Facilities - What are we doing to keep facilities clean and safe?
Custodial and child nutrition staff will support cleaning and disinfecting our facilities to
ensure readiness when students and staff return. This work was initiated during spring
break. The custodians will provide a "green product" to food service managers to use.
Our food service-grade sanitizer products will also work to clean and disinfect per the
Facilities - When and how will facilities be cleaned?
We are asking custodial staff to report to work to continue working on cleaning,
disinfecting and applying Razor Antimicrobial Coating at campuses throughout the
week. Head Custodians will ensure disinfecting all touch points to include door knobs,
push bars, front office counter tops, desk tops, classroom student desk, tables, sink
areas, counter tops, cafeteria tables, hand washing areas, rest rooms, shower locker
areas, gym matting, weight rooms, stairway rails, bleacher rails, drinking fountains,
computer keyboards, library counter tops, book return areas, tables and all other touch
points. Once all areas have been disinfected, they will utilize the GenEon mist foggers
applying the Razor antimicrobial coating that will protect surfaces for up to 90 days. In
order to be proactive, custodial staff have been informed to continue disinfecting daily
and repeat utilizing the GeEon Mist fogger and Razor antimicrobial coating every 80
days.We are following the new requirements from Austin Public Health, and minimizing staff
to 10 or less. Any school that has a staff larger than 10 people must make sure there
are no more than 10 people in each separate/single space.
Facilities - Will construction continue this semester and summer as planned?
Yes. We expect to continue with construction projects as scheduled and will work with
contractors to monitor each site and provide timely guidance as we receive it. We are
also asking contractors to make changes to advance projects while adhering to the
guidance provided by the city, county and state. These changes include: Requiring
alternating breaks by trade on site, moving all meetings to video conferencing,
prohibiting site tours, adding hand sanitizing and wash stations at each wing of site and
at key points of entry, job hazard analysis and the requirement of written plans
submitted to AISD by each general contractor detailing their adopted COVID-19 project
AP CENTRAL COLLEGE BOARD UPDATES
Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, students and teachers can attend free, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These mobile-friendly classes are:
- Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.
- Will be recorded and available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.
- Not dependent on current AP teachers continuing instruction. We know many AP teachers now face challenges that would make that impossible.
- Will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. There will also be some supplementary lessons covering the final 25% of the course.
Teachers who are providing remote instruction can continue to leverage AP Classroom, which we introduced at the start of the school year.
- Within AP Classroom, free-response questions that were only available for in-classroom use due to security concerns will now be unlocked.
- Teachers will be able to assign questions to students digitally.
Here is a one-page overview (.pdf/514KB) of how AP teachers can use the free, daily online practice in AP Classroom to help students prepare for exam day.
AP teachers can access these additional resources to help them get set up with AP Classroom:
- Foundations. Learn how AP Classroom complements the new AP course and exam descriptions and offers students opportunities for practice and feedback throughout the year.
- AP Classroom Demo. See a click-through demonstration of AP Classroom, which highlights how to assign, score, and interpret results from Topic Questions, Personal Progress Checks, and teacher-created assignments and quizzes from the AP Question Bank.
- AP Quick Start Videos. Watch short tutorials on the recent features added to AP Classroom.
AP Services for Educatorshttps://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update
The health and safety of educators and students are the AP® Program's highest priorities. As schools and communities navigate the challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we'll support AP students with free, optional remote learning and at-home AP testing. These options will give students the opportunity to earn the college credit and placement they've been working toward all year.
The AP Program will invest heavily in solutions that are designed to be as simple and lightweight as possible for both students and teachers—without creating additional burdens for school leaders during this time.
AP Exam Administration
Students remain eager to take AP Exams and have a chance to earn credit and placement. We surveyed 18,000 AP students and 91% indicated they want to complete this important step, urging us not to cancel this opportunity.
The AP Program will invest heavily over the next month in the following ways:
For the 2019-20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online exam at home. Educator-led development committees are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered.
Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates.
AP curricula are locally developed and we defer to local decisions on how best to help students complete coursework. To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they've worked this year to earn. For decades, colleges have accepted a shortened AP Exam for college credit when groups of students have experienced emergencies.
Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.
We recognize that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating. Working with partners, we'll invest so these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam. If your students need mobile tools or connectivity, you can reach us directly to let us know.
The exam questions are designed in ways that prevent cheating. We use a range of digital security tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect the integrity of the exams. Scoring at-home work for an AP Exam isn't new to the AP Program. For years the AP Program has received and scored at-home student work as part of the exams for the AP Computer Science Principles and AP Capstone™ courses.
We'll continue to support students with free resources through exam day. And while we encourage students to wait until closer to the test date to decide, any student already registered for an exam can choose to cancel at no charge.
Information about the reduced scope of content that will be covered on each 2020 AP Exam is currently posted on AP Central®. The specific test dates and the free-response question types will all be posted by April 3. We'll also unlock any relevant free-response questions in AP Classroom for digital use so students can access all practice questions of the type that will appear on the exam.
Daily Online Review AP Classes
Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, students and schools will have access to free, live AP review lessons, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. The lessons will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. These mobile-friendly classes are:
Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.
Recorded and will be available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.
Not dependent on current AP teachers continuing instruction. We know many AP teachers now face challenges that would make that impossible.
The schedule will be posted online today.
As we have additional information and resources, we'll update this webpage and share updates by email, the online AP communities, and our social media channels.
We appreciate your partnership and all you're doing on behalf of your students.
Advanced Placement Program
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
CDC on COVID-19 in Texas: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
CDC Confirmed Cases of COVID-19: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
The City of Austin
City of Austin COVID-19: http://austintexas.gov/article/cdc-updates-coronavirus
City of Austin COVID-19 FAQ: http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19