Burnet school district campuses are preparing for an additional 319 students starting Monday, Sept. 28, which increases the number of in-person learners to 80 percent from 70 percent. The additional students had been attending class remotely.
To prepare for the rise, principals and staff walked through each classroom to make sure COVID-19 protocols remained in place, Dr. Rachel Jones, assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, told the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees at its regular meeting Sept. 21.
The district has ordered 850 more clear dividers to place on desks to help protect students, while principals and teachers are looking at ways to make good use of classroom space, Jones added.
The district has recovered some of its anticipated attendance numbers, Clay Goehring, BCISD director of Business and Finance, told the board. The district budgeted for 3,200 students this fiscal year, but on the first day of school, only 2,825 were in attendance either on campus or remotely.
The good news is that the district now has 3,079 kids. That’s still short of the budgeted 3,200.
“This is a trend that’s happening across the state,” Superintendent Keith McBurnett said regarding lower-than-anticipated student numbers.
Although the Texas Education Agency has committed to using the 3,200 number for state funding through the first 12 weeks, McBurnett said the state might adjust after that to reflect the school district’s actual attendance.
BCISD noticed a significant drop of about 50 in the number of students registering for pre-kindergarten as some parents of younger children might have been fearful of sending them to school during a pandemic, McBurnett said.
The bright spot, he added, was that BCISD has reported only two students testing positive for COVID-19 since classes resumed. As word gets out about how well BCISD has protected students and staff from COVID-19, McBurnett hopes parents who haven’t registered or enrolled their kids in class will do so.
In other business, the board honored students of the month for the first time in person since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Burnet High School Principal Casey Burkhart recognized Jacey Huston and Erich Kassner, while Quest High School Principal Dr. Douglas Marvin recognized Mason Jones.