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Fort Bend ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Goose Creek ISD leaders talk about reopening plans and how they differ

Fort Bend ISD and Goose Creek ISD decided to go 100 percent online learning when school starts back.

HOUSTON — “Have a great summer break” is the message on First Colony Middle School’s sign.

But students won’t return in the fall to that campus or any other one in Fort Bend ISD.

"The big information we shared last night is that all schools will start online,” said Superintendent Charles Dupre.

Dr. Dupre told KHOU 11 in addition to 100 percent online learning for a period of time, there will be no in-person extracurricular activities for the district’s nearly 80,000 students.

When in-person classes do return, it’ll be done with protocols in place and in small groups led by campus COVID-19 crisis teams.

The district's plan goes against the TEA's guidelines which mandate an in-person component.

"We’re going to do the best thing we need to do locally," Dr. Dupre said. "We believe in local control and sometimes, as we’ve had to do in the past. We might have to appeal to TEA to change the guidelines to support us with waivers or other things and we’re willing to do that. But we’re willing take a stand on behalf of our staff and students.”

Goose Creek ISD, which serves Baytown and nearby communities, also decided to do 100 percent online learning for the first three weeks of school. But its school year won’t begin until Sept. 8 in order to give students and staff even more time to prepare.

"The hope is that the curve will have flattened by then," said Superintendent Randy O'Brien. "There won’t be quite the heightened state of anxiety.”

He said he'd heard from parents and others with opinions on all sides.

"Our sole purpose is to educate our students," Dr. O'Brien said. "But safety has to be the number one priority in doing so."

The ongoing rise in COVID-19 cases may result in every school district reassessing things over and over again.

Cy-Fair ISD, the state’s third-largest district, plans to reveal details of its reopening plan July 27.

"Our plan is to go face to face and virtual,” said Superintendent Mark Henry.

Henry believes the vast majority of students are better served in person and says the district has worked tirelessly to make sure campuses are as safe as possible for those who return.

"We’ve been working on safety protocols since April," Dr. Henry said. "Whether it involves the buses, lunchrooms, classes. We’ve taken a look at every area.”

Reopening plans from various districts trickle in on a daily basis.

The best advice is to check your district's website or verified social media accounts for the latest information.

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