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'I think we all need flexibility' | Houston ISD could extend remote learning through end of October

HISD's board will decide on whether to give administrators leeway to further postpone in-person instruction.

HOUSTON — HISD parent Carly Walker’s two kids would normally be learning in-person at Briarmeadow Charter School.

But they're currently using a room inside the family's home.

“I know it’s really hard for working parents," Walker said. "I’m a working parent. It’s really hard.”

Walker is a former teacher who currently works as an e-learning specialist in higher education. But even she had issues with HISD’s online platforms since blamed by the district on outside vendors.

"I mean, compared to what it was in March, to compare it to what it is now, I think it is a huge turnaround," Walker said. "I think we just need to give it a chance.”

Walker and other HISD parents may have to live with online learning a while longer as the board considers a proposal to possibly extend remote learning through the end of October.

"I think we all need flexibility," Walker said.

Right now, the state’s largest district is tentatively set to begin limited on-campus instruction on Oct. 19.

"We’re looking at it right now but will continue to utilize the information that we receive to make that decision to transition back to face-to-face,” said HISD superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan.

Lathan spoke about it this week during a visit to one of the district’s digital learning centers. That's where students with no access to technology at home are already showing up in person.

She said current hospitalizations and positive COVID-19 cases are among the factors that will determine what HISD does.

“I think it’s a personal decision for every family," Walker said. "Some families feel they could send their kids back right now, and I think some parents are a little bit more cautious.”

Either way, Walker said getting used to this school year is a work in progress.

“2020 is just 100 percent turned around, and we have to have more patience with everybody and everything,” Walker said.

Trustees were also set to vote on the formation of a District of Innovation committee. If HISD achieves that status, it would give the district greater flexibility in things like attendance and hiring.

The board was also expected to adopt a resolution designating Sept. 30 as a day in honor of Vanessa Guillén, the Cesar Chavez High School graduate and Fort Hood soldier who was murdered earlier this year.