2020-21 school reopening

We are excited to welcome our students and staff back to school, whether we see you in-person or virtually. We are working to ensure a safe and productive environment for all. See below for current information regarding plans for reopening schools. Please note that details are subject to change based on guidelines from local, state and federal authorities. 

Key details 

Reopening School Instructional Guidebook

The 2020-21 Reopening School Instructional Guidebook is a valuable resource which contains details about learning models, training, procedures, safety requirements and more. 

Two learning options for students - which is right for you?

Garland ISD families were given the opportunity to select from two instructional models that will begin after the four-week remote start. 

  • Face-to-FaceFace-to-face learning is a “traditional” school model, where students physically attend school daily on campus. Visit our Face-to-Face School page for more information.
  • Remote:  Remote learning provides virtual lessons with teachers and classmates, as well as self-paced activities, projects, and assignments. Daily attendance will be taken and students will have a full course-load of instruction and assignments. It will look very different from our at-home learning this spring. Visit our Remote School page for more information

Changing instructional model choice

We understand that families may want to change their instructional model choice based on COVID-19 developments. These changes can only be made at the following natural transition points at the end of each grading cycle. All primary guardians will receive a form via email prior to the change selection periods below. Guardians will be notified by the district if their selection can or cannot be granted based on capacity. All changes granted will be effective on the dates listed below: 

Instructional Model Change Selection PeriodNew Choice Effective Date
July 13 - July 23, 2020September 8, 2020
September 7 - September 18, 2020October 12, 2020
November 9 - November 13, 2020January 5, 2021
February 1 - February 5, 2021March 22, 2021

Grading and reporting

Grades will be taken during the return to school transition period and throughout the 2020-21 school year. They will count toward student GPAs for high school credit bearing courses. The grading system, grading scale, and number of required assignments will be consistent whether students are learning face-to-face or remotely. Students will move to four nine-week grading periods and will continue to receive progress reports every three weeks, with report cards being sent at the end of each nine-week grading period.

School year calendar and school hours are changing

  • The school  year calendar has been revised to include intersession weeks. The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 10 and school hours have changed to allow for ten additional minutes of instructional times. See the updated school year calendar page for details.
  • The new calendar features intersession weeks, which consist of special days where students have the opportunity to participate in remediation, acceleration or enrichment activities, similar to summer school offerings in previous years. Students who qualify for remediation will be strongly encouraged to attend, either in-person or virtually, but attendance is optional. Some teachers may choose to work for extra pay during that time. Staff and students who do not work or attend school will have the intersession week off. 

Reopening frequently asked questions

See the remote learning page for answers to general remote learning and Canvas questions.


How is a student's instructional mode determined in the event of potential conflicts in custody situations? [added 9/15]

Our first response to parents in these situations is that we request that they work together to make a decision and, if they cannot, then they need to consider court intervention to resolve their dispute.  We will not express an opinion regarding one parent's preferred learning modality over another, but advise parents that until they can reach agreement or seek judicial intervention, we will process requests accordingly: (1) if one parent has the exclusive right to make educational decisions, that parent's chosen modality will be implemented; (2) if parents have equal decision-making rights for education under their court order and are making different decisions, then we will look to the parent who, under the decree, designates the residence of the student because this person's address is used for residency purposes and we list this person as Guardian 1 in our system; or (3) if parents' decree has equal decision-making rights and does not give either parent the exclusive right to establish the primary residence, then we would look to the parent whose address we are currently to establish the attendance zone.  If both parents happen to live in the same zone, then I would look to whose address was used to register (and should be listed as Guardian 1 in our system).

How will I know if my student is attending synchronously or asynchronously? [revised 8/7]

Synchronous is the recommended method of instruction for 3rd-12th grade students (Asynchronous is currently the only TEA-approved remote learning instructional model for PreK-2nd grade students).

  • Students in grades 3 through 5 are required to participate in a minimum of 180 instructional minutes per day. 

  • Students in grades 6 through 12 are required to participate in a minimum of 240 instructional minutes per day. 

Asynchronous is currently the only TEA-approved remote learning instructional model for PreK-2nd grade students (available for 3rd-12th grade students, if needed).


What if I’m not getting emails or calls from the school? [added 8/6]

You have several options for customizing the way the district communicates with you and how you receive important notifications. Please visit our Skylert and Skyward communications settings webpage for instructions on how to log in to Skyward Family Access to update your contact information and notification preferences.

How do I log in to Skyward? [added 8/6]

Visit www.garlandisd.net/skywardlogin to log in to Skyward. If you have trouble logging in, please contact GISD Technology Support by email at familyaccesshelp@garlandisd.net or by phone at 972-494-8566. To create and activate a new account, visit our Skyward Family Access webpage.

Will middle and high school students have online-only textbooks? Is it possible to also get a hard copy? [added 8/6]

Middle school and high school textbooks are online, but we do have limited hard copies available. If your child needs a physical textbook, please contact your school to schedule a pick-up time.

I need to request a chromebook or a hotspot and the form is closed. What do I do? [added 8/5]

It's never too late to get what you need to learn remotely.  You should call your child's campus and they can make arrangements for you to get the hotspot and/or chromebook.

If my child is using a GISD issued Chromebook or iPad, can the webcam and microphone be accessed and viewed by GISD staff without our knowledge or permission? [added 8/4]

GISD-issued devices are managed, filtered, and supported through GISD’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) Systems. To protect student privacy, GISD does not use or authorize the use of any software that would allow unauthorized access to device webcams and microphones.

How will attendance be taken? [added 8/3]

Attendance will be taken in every class, every day. If a student attends a ‘live’, synchronous remote class, attendance will be taken just as it would be if the student was face-to-face. The teacher will call roll and students who are participating in the class will be counted present. If a student attends class asynchronously, they will have to show evidence of their daily progress by meeting any of the requirements listed below.

GISD Teacher Guidelines To Document Evidence Of Daily Progress

The student submits daily evidence of learning through the Learning Management System. Evidence can include: 

  • Submitting assignments

  • Discussion board participation

  • Written reflection 

  • Completing a quiz or form


The student attends scheduled support with their teacher including: 

  • Tutorials

  • Intervention/Remediation 

  • Small group instruction

How will students be marked “present” each day if they are doing asynchronous learning? [added 8/3]

TEA requires that students engage daily in order to be counted present, so all 3rd-12th grade students who miss live lessons must view the missed lessons asynchronously as “make-up” work. This will allow families who need to log in after traditional school hours to complete the work and still be counted present. While you will be able to log in to the lesson at a later time, you must complete the assigned activities within the same day to be marked present for the day of instruction. However, it is important to engage in live lessons with the teacher as much as possible to ensure that student learning needs are being met.

If students miss a day are they marked absent if they make up the time and the work? [added 8/3]

They must make up the work on the same day it was given to be marked present for the day. For instance, if a student missed live instruction at 10:00 a.m. on Monday but was able to watch the lessons and show evidence of daily progress by 11:59 p.m. on Monday night, the student would receive credit for their attendance on Monday.

If the student waits until later in the week to complete an assignment, they will receive credit for the assignment they completed but will be marked absent from the class.


What are the accommodations for working families if parents cannot supervise their students to log on at a specific time or if students must attend daycare, or if students forget to log on? [added 8/3]

We encourage our families to communicate specific schedule concerns directly to their child’s teacher/campus administrator. We understand that conflicts do come up, and we will partner with you to make sure your child receives the necessary instruction. GISD is working to form partnerships with local daycare providers to collaborate with them and support their efforts to supervise remote learning for the students they are serving.

TEA requires that students engage daily in order to be counted present, so all 3rd-12th grade students who miss live lessons must view the missed lessons asynchronously as “make-up” work. This will allow families who need to log in after traditional school hours to complete the work and still be counted present. However, it is important to engage in live lessons with the teacher as much as possible to ensure that student learning needs are being met.


What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning? [added 8/3]

Synchronous learning is “live” instruction. Students and teachers are logged on together at the same time. Asynchronous learning is not live. Students access pre-recorded lessons and independently complete assignments each day. All PreK-2 students will participate in asynchronous learning, but will have identified times for live support from their teacher.

What local medical experts are we using as advisors since we do not have a hospital in Garland? [added 7/14]

Our Director of Health Services, Renee Kotsopoulos, works closely with the Dallas County health department regarding COVID-19 within our community. GISD also is following public health guidance provided by the Texas Education Agency. The most recent TEA guidance can be found here.

Are our reopening guidelines dictated from TEA and the Governor? Does the district have a COVID-19 tolerance/data number that will cause a change in direction? [added 7/14]

GISD is complying with the public health guidance provided by TEA, as well as all executive orders in place, such as Executive Order GA-29 and the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas.  When orders are issued within Dallas County, we also comply with those regulations.  Those regulations are subject to frequent change, so our team closely monitors all updates.  Any change in direction would be the result of updated state or local orders.

What procedures should a student or staff member follow if they test positive? [added 7/14]

Any individuals who themselves either: (a) are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19; or (b) experience the symptoms of COVID-19 must stay at home throughout the infection period.

  • Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who experience the symptoms of COVID-19 may not return to school or work until screened by the school system and cleared by medical staff.

  • In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school or work when all three of the following criteria are met: 

    • at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications); 

    • the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and 

    • at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

If an individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 but is not evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, they are assumed to have COVID-19 and may not return to school or work until they meet the same three criteria listed above. 

If an individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to school or work before completing the steps above, they must either: 

    • obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis; or 

receive two separate confirmations at least 24 hours apart that they are free of COVID-19 via acute infection tests at an approved COVID-19 testing location found at https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/

Will UIL activities/programs be safe? [added 7/14]

We have thorough protocols in place for all UIL activities.  These meet or exceed the requirements established by the UIL and are in compliance with all executive orders, including Executive Order GA-29. GISD is committed to making our activities and programs as safe as we possibly can. Please reference detailed information on UIL Athletics Guidance and UIL Music Guidance.

How will you address social emotional or mental health concerns? [added 7/5]

Counselors are available to support students academically, socially, and emotionally and can provide mental health support or resources for families who may be struggling emotionally. Access to schedule a meeting with a GISD counselor or to find a list of local counseling based resources can be found on the district website. To ensure staff is equipped to address social and mental health concerns, Guidance and Counseling will continue to host training opportunities including trauma informed care, mental health first aid, and social emotional learning.

What if most families choose the face-to-face option? Would there have to be changes to accommodate social distancing or will there be a limit of how many students can select the face-to-face option? [added 7/5]

We will be able to provide instruction to all students in whichever format their families choose. We will also comply with all mandates regarding health and hygiene protocols.

Will GISD require daily screenings of students, staff and visitors? [added 7/5]

Each student, staff, and visitor will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival on campus by a trained staff member.