Santa Fe ISD: What you need to know about the district’s 2020-2021 school plans

Santa Fe ISD (Santa Fe ISD)

Santa Fe ISD has drafted a plan for the upcoming year.

The district plans to implement a number of measures to help protect its students and staff on campus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

SFISD has addressed student health protocols, the classroom setting, transportation, and more.

The measures underway are part of the district’s Back to School guide which was drafted on July 6.

Here’s what to know for the upcoming school year:


The first day of school is scheduled for August 13, 2020.

School hours will be amended to add 10 minutes to each school day.

Click here to view the 2020-2021 school calendar.

Measures underway or being considered

Student health protocols

  • Students will be screened daily as they enter the building or board transportation. This screening may look different at the elementary levels or secondary levels. Temperature checks may be done for younger children.
  • All students will be instructed on methods to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 at school.
  • All students should practice appropriate social distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
  • All students should regularly wash their hands when reporting to school and after using the restroom.
  • All students will be trained on proper hand-washing techniques and participate in scheduled handwashing times throughout the day.
  • All students should maintain social distancing from others whenever possible. If this is not possible, face coverings are recommended. All students (age-appropriate) are encouraged to use non-medical grade facemasks, covering nose and mouth, while in indoor common spaces.

Employee health protocols

  • All Santa Fe ISD employees will be required to complete a self-screening daily.
  • All employees will be trained on appropriate methods and practices to protect themselves and others.
  • All employees will be trained on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
  • All employees shall regularly wash their hands when reporting to work and after using the restroom.
  • All employees shall maintain social distancing from others when possible. If this is not possible, face coverings must be used.


  • Students will report straight to designated areas to limit the size of student groupings.
  • Santa Fe ISD already has designated student entry points for school safety. However, students may be asked to wait at designated markers as they enter the buildings in order to follow social distancing.

Metal Detector Entry

The following procedures will be in place until further notice:

  • Students should limit the number of materials entering the building that will be required to be pulled out of a backpack in order to reduce cross-contamination. Secondary buildings will offer students the opportunity to purchase supplies like spirals and binders with plastic rings.
  • Students will follow markers on the floor to practice social distancing.
  • The goal for students is to be able to walk through the metal detector and only place their phone in the bend.
  • Sanitizer will be available for use before and after entering the metal detectors.
  • Teachers checking bags will use gloves
  • Teachers, coaches, and parents will work with students to reduce the amount of materials brought back and forth from school.


  • Campuses will implement staggered release procedures with multiple exits.

Meal service

  • All child nutrition staff will use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while performing job responsibilities and will be trained to practice health and hygiene regulations.
  • To ensure the safety of students and staff, no outside food deliveries will be accepted.
  • Visitors will not be allowed during breakfast or lunch.
  • Only students eating school breakfast and/or lunch will be allowed in the cafeteria seating area in the mornings at the elementary campuses.
  • Students will be seated in order to promote social distancing.
  • Students may eat in various locations throughout the building to maximize social distancing.
  • Parents will be encouraged for students to limit cash exchanges by using the School Café app for online payments.
  • Floor markers will be placed along the serving lines to promote social distancing.
  • Serving items will be disposable and students will not be allowed access to self-serve items in order to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Payment methods will now use a barcode badge scanner for campuses with ID’s and a name identification system for campuses that do not. Students will no longer use pin pads.
  • All cafeteria staff will wear gloves and masks and clear barriers will be installed around the cashiers.
  • Serving stations and lines will be sanitized between classes.


  • Students will sit in the window and aisle seats and skip the middle seat.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available as they enter the bus.
  • Busses will be cleaned with a fogger system and wipe down between routes.
  • Encourage windows down during good weather to provide fresh air.
  • All drivers will wear masks.

Classroom setting

  • Students will be seated with as much separation as feasible without disrupting the educational experience.
    • When a teacher needs to be close to students, they will wear a mask.
  • For age and developmentally appropriate students, use of masks in classroom settings will be encouraged.

Extra-Curricular/Field Trips

  • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities will be conducted in alignment with UIL guidelines.
  • Non-UIL activities will follow the same COVID-19 related guidelines as UIL activities.
  • No indoor Pep-Rallies during the Fall Semester. Outdoor Pep-Rallies or gatherings must be in compliance with state social distancing guidelines.
  • Until further notice, the use of field trips to enhance the educational experience maybe limited or postponed.
  • Student social activities may be limited due to healthcare requirements and may come with rules and regulations depending on the activity.
  • Hand sanitizing/washing stations must be available for any activity.


  • To limit exposure, informal campus visits will be restricted. (including during meal time)
  • Essential meetings will be done by appointment or through a virtual format. Parents are encouraged to call first. Many meetings can be done online.
  • In the event an individual visits a campus, they must pass a screener to access a school campus.
  • To ensure the safety of students and staff, no outside food deliveries will be accepted (i.e. food, gifts, doordash, etc.)

Instruction methods offered

Sante Fe ISD intends to offer face-to-face and virtual instruction for the 2020-21 school year.


Face-to-face instruction will occur with school and classroom safety protocols and guidelines that are currently being finalized. In-class learning will follow state and local agency requirements and recommendations that will be communicated prior to the start of school.


Virtual Learning will be offered in the synchronous and asynchronous formats. The learning method will include continuous instruction from the district and school personnel. Students must meet specific requirements in order to enroll in virtual learning and must commit to the instruction method for a complete grading period term.

Grades PK-2 Digital Synchronous/Asynchronous Instruction - Teacher driven instruction with a blend of real-time/self-paced learning. (More guidelines and conditions provided soon.)

Grades 3-12 Digital, Synchronous Instruction - Two-way, real-time/live, digital instruction between teachers and students when students are not on campus. Students are expected to be actively engaged in learning with their teacher during a specific time during the school day. (More guidelines and conditions provided soon.)

In order to enroll in virtual instruction, students are required to have access to the following:

  • Broadband internet access
  • Laptop or desktop computer for use a minimum of 4 hours each school day (Monday-Friday)
  • The laptop or computer must be able to run live streaming, video, and have the capability for the student to respond through live chat and video.

In addition, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The student had passing grades at the end of the 2019-2020 school year in all subjects.
  • The student participated fully in remote learning during the Spring of 2020 closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Santa Fe ISD students receiving specialized instruction may be required to attend in person with all safety measures in place.


A link to a brief preliminary back to school survey was included in the parent letter sent out on July 2.

Do you have questions about Santa Fe ISD’s plan?

Fill out the form below and we’ll work to find the answer to your question.


About the Author: