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Weekends Home

An Overview of the TSBVI Weekends Home Program including Handbook Information, Contact Information, Travel Routes, FAQ, Drop-off and Pick-up Times, and Route Maps.

TSBVI Weekends Home Program – Parent Handbook

June 21, 2021

Dear Parents:

This letter is regarding the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Weekends Home Program for the 2021-2022 school year. Please read this letter carefully so you understand how the Weekends Home Program will work this year. Our goal has always been to encourage as many students to go home each week as possible. Our school has always held the value that it is important for our students to maintain the bond they hold with their families and local communities. Additionally, the home community is where resources should be developed to assist the student in their transition to a productive adult life. To achieve these goals, TSBVI established the Weekends Home Program.

Here is how the 2021-2022 Weekends Home Program will work. If you are within 50 miles of one of our established drop-off points: Houston, Chappell Hill, Balch Springs (Just south of Mesquite), Bear Creek (Red Oak), Belton, Waco, Fort Worth, Hearne, Jacksonville, San Antonio, George West, Calallan or Brownwood, your child will come home every weekend. Note that several stops have changed this year to include as many students as possible in the Weekends Home Program.

If you live more than 50 miles from one of our established stops you will have the option to have your child come home only when we are closed or, we will make every reasonable effort to get your child home approximately every other weekend at our school’s expense. These options apply to all students who live more than 50 miles from established drop-off points, including all who must use public transportation to return home. On available space basis, parents living more than 50 miles from an established drop-off point may request transportation in a TSBVI vehicle to a drop off point every week. If your child’s ARD Committee makes decisions regarding your child’s participation in the Weekends Home Program, we will adhere to those requirements.

On school closure weekends, your local school district provides for your child to come home, at no expense to you. The TSBVI Weekends Home buses run on those weekends and your district will pay TSBVI for that service. Your local school district is also responsible to reimburse your mileage to and from the stops on these weekends. Please contact them to arrange payment. Please refer to the attached calendar for the specific dates of school closings. On all other designated weekends when your child comes home, TSBVI will either provide, Weekends Home transportation to a drop-off point designated by TSBVI, or a commercial bus, or airline ticket for your child, approximately every other weekend.

On the weekends and holidays when TSBVI closes, your local school district will provide transportation for your child from either TSBVI, the bus station, or the TSBVI drop-off point, or they will reimburse you to do this. You will need to check with someone at your local district about getting paid for this travel. For all other designated weekends when your child comes home, TSBVI will arrange for you to be paid to pick up your child from the place where your child is dropped off. If your child goes home by commercial bus or TSBVI bus or van, you will be paid to pick up and take your child to the drop-off point.

For each mile you drive back and forth from the drop-off point, TSBVI will reimburse you at the rate of 50% of the federal/state mileage reimbursement rate, currently that is .29 cents per mile. Please be aware that this amount is subject to change based on the federal/state mileage reimbursement rate. So, if you live 15 miles from the drop-off point, TSBVI will pay you 15 x $.29, or $4.35 for your trip to the drop-off point on Friday afternoon; $4.35 for your trip back home on Friday evening; $4.35 to take your child back to the drop-off point on Sunday; and $4.35 for your drive home on Sunday. So, if you live 15 miles from the drop-off point, for one weekend, TSBVI will pay you $17.40.

Reimbursement checks will be mailed three times per school year. The first check will be mailed in December and will be for qualifying mileage you drive between the beginning of the school year and the Thanksgiving holidays. The second check will be mailed in April for the miles you drive between the Thanksgiving holiday and spring break. The third check will be mailed in June and will be for the miles you drive between spring break and the end of the school year. Please make certain you complete a Weekends Home Parent Agreement Form at the beginning of each year to set this process in motion.

Each school vehicle used for the Weekends Home Program carries equipment to make the trips as safe as possible. All Weekends Home staff have been trained to manage students effectively and to safely transport them. This includes training on sanitation, evacuations, and other emergency response techniques. Every effort is made to ensure a safe ride and a positive experience for students.

TSBVI will need your cooperation to keep your child’s participation as consistent as possible with your assigned schedule. Understand, after the school year begins, TSBVI will not be able to make changes in your child’s assigned schedule. In August, we will plan how many staff we need to supervise students in the dormitories and how many we need to get students home each weekend. We cannot afford to make changes after the school year starts because changes will result in not having enough Residential Instructors to safely and effectively supervise the students who do not go home on a particular weekend.

Please always make certain you pick up your child on time and have your child back on time to your drop-off point. If your child travels by plane or commercial bus, you must arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled time for pick-up or drop-off.

As of today, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends students and staff on school buses wear masks to protect against COVID-19. Weekends Home staff will continue to practice and encourage careful hygiene and mask wearing on the bus and at the stops. We ask that parents be mindful at the stops that some of our students and staff may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 than other people in their community. More information about TSBVI’s COVID-19 response for school year 2021-2022 will be made available to families in early August

Thank you for your participation and attention to these details. We look forward to another great year.

Sincerely,
Emily Coleman, Superintendent
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Questions?

Contact: Gian Calaci

Weekends Home Coordinator

If you have any questions about these dates please call Gian Calaci, the weekends home coordinator, at (512) 206-9231.

(512) 206-9231 - Office
(512) 844-9362 - Cell

Weekends Home Travel Dates

A/B/Closure Calendar for Travel 2022–2023

  • School Closings – All students travel home on these dates. TSBVI is closed for the indicated long weekends, holidays or end of year travel.
  • ‘A’ weekend home – All A weekend home students travel home and back to TSBVI on the indicated dates
  • ‘B’ weekend home – All B weekend home students travel home and back to TSBVI on the indicated dates
  • Most students travel every weekend. Some students travel on either ‘A’ or ‘B’ weekends. Some students travel only on closures. This is generally determined during the ARD process.

Registration Day – August 14, 2022 // Family or District Drop-off at TSBVI

Scroll
A/B/Closure Calendar for Travel 2022–2023
Week # A/B/Closure Departure Day Return Day
1 A Friday 8/19/22 Sunday 8/21/22
2 B Friday 8/26/22 Sunday 8/28/22
3 CLOSURE Friday 9/2/22 Monday 9/5/22
4 A Friday 9/9/22 Sunday 9/11/22
5 B Friday 9/16/22 Sunday 9/18/22
6 A Friday 9/23/22 Sunday 9/25/22
7 B Friday 9/30/22 Sunday 10/2/22
8 A Friday 10/7/22 Sunday 10/9/22
9 CLOSURE Thursday 10/13/22 Monday 10/17/22
10 B Friday 10/21/22 Sunday 10/23/22
11 A Friday 10/28/22 Sunday 10/30/22
12 B Friday 11/4/22 Sunday 11/6/22
13 A Friday 11/11/22 Sunday 11/13/22
14 CLOSURE Friday 11/18/22 Sunday 11/27/22
15 B Friday 12/2/22 Sunday 12/4/22
16 A Friday 12/9/22 Sunday 12/11/22
17 B Friday 12/16/22 Sunday 12/18/22
18 CLOSURE Wednesday 12/21/22 Monday 1/9/23
19 CLOSURE Friday 1/13/23 Monday 1/16/23
20 A Friday 1/20/23 Sunday 1/22/23
21 B Friday 1/27/23 Sunday 1/29/23
22 A Friday 2/3/23 Sunday 2/5/23
23 B Friday 2/10/23 Sunday 2/12/23
24 CLOSURE Thursday 2/16/23 Monday 2/20/23
25 A Friday 2/24/23 Sunday 2/26/23
26 B Friday 3/3/23 Sunday 3/5/23
27 CLOSURE Thursday 3/9/23 Sunday 3/19/23
28 A Friday 3/24/23 Sunday 3/26/23
29 CLOSURE Thursday 3/30/23 Sunday 4/2/23
30 CLOSURE Thursday 4/6/23 Monday 4/10/23
31 B Friday 4/14/23 Sunday 4/16/23
32 A Friday 4/21/23 Sunday 4/23/23
33 B Friday 4/28/23 Sunday 4/30/23
34 A Friday 5/5/23 Sunday 5/7/23
35 B Friday 5/12/23 Sunday 5/14/23
36 A Friday 5/19/23 Sunday 5/21/23

Last Day of School — Friday, May 26, 2023. Family/District Pick-up students at TSBVI

School Calendar

Weekends Home Pick-up and Drop-off Schedule

  • Friday
    • 2:45 p.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 5:15 p.m. – arrive Brownwood
  • Sunday
    • 11:30 a.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 2:15 p.m. – depart Brownwood
    • 5:15 p.m. – arrive TSBVI
  • Friday
    • 2:45 p.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 6:30 p.m. – arrive Bear Creek
    • 6:45 p.m. – depart Bear Creek
    • 7:15 p.m. – arrive Mesquite
    • 7:30 p.m. – depart Mesquite
  • Sunday
    • 9:00 a.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 1:30 p.m. – arrive Mesquite
    • 1:45 p.m. – depart Mesquite
    • 2:15 p.m. – arrive Bear Creek
    • 2:30 p.m. – depart Bear Creek
    • 6:15 p.m. – arrive TSBVI
  • Friday
    • 2:45 p.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 4:00 p.m. – arrive Belton
    • 5:00 p.m. – arrive Waco
    • 7:00 p.m. – arrive Ft. Worth
  • Sunday
    • 9:00 a.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 1:30 p.m. – arrive Ft. Worth
    • 3:45 p.m. – arrive Waco
    • 5:00 p.m. – arrive Belton
    • 6:30 p.m. – arrive TSBVI
  • Friday
    • 2:45 p.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 4:30 p.m. – arrive Chappell Hill
    • 6:00 p.m. – arrive Houston
  • Sunday
    • 9:00 a.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 1:30 p.m. – arrive Houston
    • 3:00 p.m. – arrive Chappell Hill
    • 5:00 p.m. – arrive TSBVI
  • Friday
    • 2:45 p.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 3:15 p.m. – arrive Hearne
    • 5:30 p.m. – arrive Jacksonville
  • Sunday
    • 9:00 a.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 12:45 p.m. – arrive Jacksonville
    • 3:15 p.m – arrive Hearne
    • 5:00 p.m. – arrive TSBVI
  • Friday
    • 2:45 p.m. – depart TSBVI
    • 4:45 p.m. – arrive San Antonio
    • 6:15 p.m. – arrive George West
    • 7:30 p.m. – arrive Corpus Cristi
  • Sunday
    • 9:00 a.m.  – depart TSBVI
    • 1:30 p.m. – arrive Corpus Cristi
    • 2:30 p.m. – arrive George West
    • 4:15 p.m. – arrive San Antonio

Weekends Home FAQs

Residential and/or instructional staff are responsible for ensuring that their students pack clothes, personal items, music players and other items that the student may need for the weekend. Please contact residential or day staff if you have specific items that you would like for your child to bring home on weekends. Also, for those students who may need a change on the bus, please provide between one to three changes of clothes and at least three diapers/pull-ups. These actions will help preserve your child’s dignity and comfort throughout the trip. Thanks for your help!

Because the buses are often crowded we like travel to be fairly quiet if possible. Most students socialize or listen to music or play games on an iPad. If your child has a favored leisure activity or toy that will help make travel relaxing for them, please send it along. If you know of an activity that soothes your child when they are upset please let us know that as well.

Buses make one scheduled stop each way. The bus makes additional stops as needed, however we ask that you please take your child to the toilet prior to boarding the bus and refrain from providing excessive beverages before travel. Thank you. This really helps keep the trips as short as possible.

We will provide snacks for each student for the Friday trip. Please feed your child lunch before bringing them to the bus on Sundays. We do not provide snacks or lunch for the Sunday trip. Water and juice are available for students on all trips. Please do not give students large drinks before boarding the bus. Unplanned bathroom stops slow down the trip considerably.

No, due to time constraints and staffing issues, students may not buy snacks or other items at stores during the bus trips. Please plan ahead by providing snacks for return trips.

Snacks are prepared by the TSBVI Food Service department in accordance with dietary restrictions and allergy information provided to the Health Center. Please keep all information current so that we may provide a safe and healthy meal for your child.

We will not be able to change the Weekends Home schedule assigned to your child except in emergency or critical situations. If you believe that you have an emergency or critical situation and would like to request a change in your child’s schedule, this must be done no later than 4:00pm on the day before travel will occur. For travel changes please contact your students: Dorm Manager, the Health Center and the Coordinator of the Weekends Home Program.

We will notify you of any cancellations or significant delays due to weather or any other unforeseen circumstances.

For everyone’s safety, TSBVI has strict rules about who can pick up your child at the bus stop. Please be certain anyone who will pick up your student on Drop-off days is on their Weekends Home Permission list. You will complete this list at registration. Please bring the full name and phone numbers of all the people you want on your student’s permission list. If you need to add someone later in the year contact Cathy Olsen olsenc@tsbvi.edu  (512) 206-9182 or your student’s dorm manager or Gian Calaci calacig@tsbvi.edu (512) 206-9231.  Please take care of this before travel days.

Students experiencing a temperature above 100 degrees, diarrhea, or vomiting will not be allowed to return on the bus or van in order to protect the other students from a contagion. If a staff member observes a student with any type of medical or health problem indicating that the child may not be healthy enough to return on the bus or van, the staff member may contact the TSBVI Health Center and describe the problem to the nurse on duty. The nurse will determine whether the student will be allowed to return on the bus or van. The staff member will inform you of the nurse’s determination.

Each bus has a Medications Sponsor who is responsible for picking up student medications from the Health Center on Fridays. Please meet this person at your stop to get your child’s medication. If you forget to do this we will call you and ask you to return to the bus stop. If we cannot reach you by phone within a reasonable time period, your child’s meds will be returned to the Health Center at TSBVI.

On Sundays please give all medications to the Medication Sponsor on your route. Do not pack medications in luggage, your child will not be allowed to board the bus until you give all medication to the bus Medication Sponsor, this is for everyone’s safety. EMS must be able to locate all meds easily, in the event of an emergency.

If you forget to bring your child’s medication to the bus or the prescription is not full enough to treat the student until her next visit home, your child may not be allowed to return to school. This will be determined by the Administration at TSBVI. The bus Medication Sponsors are not allowed to let a student on the bus until they have all the students’ medications. Thank you for your attention to this very important detail for travel.

Weekends Home staff have a 40-hour training week at the beginning of each year and on-going training, as needed. Weekends Home staff are formally trained in: First Aid and CPR, bus evacuation procedures, emergency procedures, basic sign language, Orientation and Mobility, Positive Behavioral Support Techniques and MANDT. Staff are also given professional development opportunities throughout the year to increase the quality of care that your child receives.

Please remember that we will not be responsible for any money or valuables you send back with your child. Our staff is not allowed to accept money, and we strongly discourage parents from sending any money or valuables in students’ luggage.

Until the staff are familiar with you, you may be asked to show an ID before being allowed to pick up a student. This is for everyone’s safety.

*****Important*****

If your child will not be returning on Sunday, please notify: Gian Calaci, Weekends Home Coordinator at (512) 206-9231 or (512) 844-9362 and their dorm manager. Thank you. This allows us plenty of time to adjust staffing as needed

Weekends Home Vehicle Rules

  1. Respect Others’ Rights. Students must respect the rights and privileges of other students and Weekends Home staff.
  2. Respect Others’ Property. Students must respect the property of others.
  3. Cooperate with Staff. Students must cooperate with or assist the Weekends Home staff in maintaining safety, order, and discipline.
  4. Seatbelts. Students are to remain seated and buckled in their seats as long as the vehicle is in route.
  5. Entertainment. Your child is likely to enjoy a smoother bus trip if they carry preferred music, toys, etc. Please remember to provide spare batteries for the four-hour trips. We are happy to work with the team in establishing a supportive bus routine for your child.
  6. Headsets Required! All radios, CD players, keyboards, electronic toys, etc. must be used with a headset unless Weekends Home staff has given permission otherwise.
  7. SHH! Students must keep all noise levels as low as possible.
  8. Rest Stops. Students must cooperate to make each rest stop as safe and efficient as possible. Students will not be able to purchase snacks or drinks at rest stops. All students must be under supervision of a Weekends Home staff person at all times during the rest stop.
  9. Glass and other prohibited items.  Students may not bring glass objects or drinks without a screw top lid onto the vehicle. Students may not bring large drinks onto the bus. If you are sending your child with snacks, please send them with one serving size only, pack the rest in their luggage for later. Students who cannot regulate their serving sizes often end up sick on the bus which results in: discomfort, illness and unplanned stops.
  10. No Cologne, Aerosols or Sprays. Students may not bring aerosols or sprays (such as perfumes, colognes, etc.) into the seating area of the vehicle. Cologne and perfumes are discouraged because of close quarters and students with respiratory conditions.
  11. No Hanging Out the Window. Students must not throw or hang anything out of the window of the vehicle.
  12. We have several students with serious food allergies. If your student’s bus has a food restriction please follow this closely and understand that food allergies can cause serious and sudden emergencies
  13. The rules of the student code of conduct apply at all times on the Weekends Home vehicles.

Useful Numbers

(512) 454-8631

(512) 844-5173

(512) 206-9136
(512) 206-9138
(512) 300-1527
on campus emergencies dial 444

Weekends Home Coordinator: Gian Calaci

Emergency Cell (512) 844-9362

Residential Director: Matt Schultz

Assistant Residential Director: Christina Casas

Assistant Residential Director: Laura Wofford

Brownwood Bus (512) 906-6254

Dallas Bus (512) 844-8731

Fort Worth Bus (512) 844-8801

Houston I Bus (512) 844-8815

Houston II Bus (512) 844-7299

Jacksonville Bus (512) 296-0675

Corpus Bus (512) 300-3672

Mark Rodgers (512) 206-9641 rogersm@tsbvi.edu

Jennifer Daily (512) 206-9104 dailyj@tsbvi.edu

Jennifer Hysaw (512) 206-9333 hysawj@tsbvi.edu

Sherri Hayes (512) 206-9227 hayess@tsbvi.edu

Liz Livesay (512) 206-9276 livesayl@tsbvi.edu

Cory McKinney (512) 206-9228 mckinneyc@tsbvi.edu

Jenelle Racher (512) 206-9372 racherj@tsbvi.edu

Tammy Reed (512) 206-9292 reedt@tsbvi.edu

Shara Williams (512) 206-9180 williamss@tsbvi.edu

Megan Czapla (512) 206-9264 czaplam@tsbvi.edu

Tiayr Bradshaw (512) 206-9275 bradshawt@tsbvi.edu

Flight Procedure

Sunday before travel

On Sundays, tickets are purchased and an itinerary is sent to your student’s manager.

Wednesday before travel

By Wednesdays, you should have received your student’s flight itinerary for Friday from your student’s dorm manager.  If you have not received it please call or email your student’s dorm manager.

On the Travel Day

Parents and guardians must arrive at the airport 2 hours before the scheduled landing. Get a gate pass from the airline counter and proceed immediately to the gate. You must have a photo ID in order to get a gate pass. If you are unable to do this, you must appoint someone else.  They will be expected to follow all the regulations listed here.  When the students and staff get off the plane, they will meet the parents and review the news of the day. The escorts may need to catch a turnaround flight immediately, so you must be at the gate 1 hour before landing time. The escorts will not bring the students out of the gate area to you; you must get a gate pass to go into the gate to pick up your child.

On the return travel day

Parents and guardians must arrive at the airport 2 hours before the scheduled landing. Get a gate pass from the airline counter and proceed immediately to the gate. You must be at the gate and ready to board one hour before travel. Please make certain your child has eaten and used the toilet before this time.

What to Pack

  • One backpack
  • TSBVI photo ID
  • If over 18, state photo ID
  • medicine to last until the next time the student goes home (or they may not be allowed to fly)
  • cane or pre-cane as assigned
  • change of clothes and toiletries
  • students should have eaten lunch before travel.

Flying can be a hectic and stressful activity for students and staff alike. Please do your best to ensure your child is calm, fed and rested by the time they arrive at the gate. We will do our best to be reliable, safe and supportive.


June 13, 2019

Dear Parents,

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), advises travelers to arrive at the airport 2 hours before their flights. Please see the TSA website.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) Weekends Home flight escorts and students must board the plane at the first boarding call for people who need extra time. Boarding on time and as a group gives our students the extra time they may need to get settled on the plane in seats together with their school escort. Boarding early and in an orderly fashion gives everyone the opportunity to have a safe and stress-free transition back to school. It is a requirement that ensures proper supervision for all our travelers.

Parents and students must be at the gate and ready to board one hour before the first boarding call or your ticket will be cancelled.

Parents must anticipate traffic problems, ticket counter crowds, student issues and security slowdowns. These are a regular part of air travel and must be anticipated each time your student travels. This cancellation rule is necessary to keep flight travel affordable for the school and orderly and safe for our travelers.

These measures will increase your student’s safety and ease their transition back to school each week. Many thanks to those of you who have understood the importance of this and have been arriving on time, reliably, from the start.

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to call me at my office (512) 206-9231. If you cannot reach me at my office, my cell phone number is: (512) 844-9362.

Thank you for your help keeping air travel orderly and safe,

Gian Calaci, Coordinator
TSBVI Weekends Home Program