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Cy-Fair ISD unveils virtual school plan for 2021-22 which some already want expanded

The district is the latest to propose a stand-alone virtual school following successes among some students this year.

CYPRESS, Texas — Cy-Fair ISD is the latest district to unveil plans for a stand-alone virtual school following the success among some students learning remotely this year.

Those include Aly Fitzpatrick's 7-year-old twins Charlie and Henry.

"One of them has an immune issue and both of them have chronic lung disease," said Fitzpatrick. "So they are at heightened risk if they were to get it of not having a great outcome.”

She’s grateful Cy-Fair ISD is planning a stand-alone virtual school beginning next fall which the board of trustees heard about during Monday night’s meeting.

"We do know that there are some students who have performed well in our current online environment,” said a district official.

In addition to Cy-Fair, a number of other area districts including Clear Creek, Conroe, Fort Bend, Houston and Katy ISDs have announced plans or proposals for virtual schools.

But the details differ.

Right now, Cy-Fair is only thinking about making it available to students in grades four through 12 which would not include elementary students like Charlie and Henry.

“I think expanding the virtual option just makes sense," said Fitzpatrick. "There’s no reason to shut it down, we've come this far. We’ve already paired all students with one-on-one devices, so we’ve done the hard stuff.”

She said she’d happily bring her children back to school once they’re vaccinated.

It's a place Superintendent Mark Henry thinks is best for most students.

"There’s a statement I always say," said Dr. Henry during Monday night's meeting. "We can provide schooling for you, virtually. But, if you want a real education, it needs to be in-person.”

Henry doesn’t think the virtual school will have a huge enrollment and the district will be discerning about applications.

The process of which begins Wednesday.

CFISD release:

May 10, 2021—CFISD administrators presented proposed plans for a Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Virtual School to the Board of Trustees during its regularly scheduled meeting on May 10. 

The virtual campus plan is contingent upon the Texas Legislature adopting specific legislation to permit and fund remote learning for the 2021-2022 school year. In the event this does not occur, CFISD will not be able to open the virtual school and applicants will be notified.

The CFISD Virtual School would be open to incoming students in grades 4-12 who meet entry requirements. The campus would have no tuition fees, and a variety of courses would be offered. All coursework would be completed virtually, and teachers would only teach virtual students.

Students not currently enrolled in CFISD may apply to the Virtual School; however, students must be enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year in order to be eligible. Virtual students will have the opportunity to participate in virtual clubs and organizations and will not participate in on-campus activities at their zoned campus.

“When the in-person instructional school model was disrupted due to the pandemic, some students thrived in a virtual environment,” said Dr. Linda Macias, chief academic officer. “The Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Virtual School would offer these learners a chance to continue thriving in an enhanced platform offered by the district.”

Applications will be available on the CFISD website on May 12.

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