HOUSTON — With COVID cases climbing, a lot of parents are worried about sending their unvaccinated kids back to school.
Children under the age of 12 aren't eligible for the COVID vaccine yet, and experts warn the surge will get even worse as they unknowingly spread the virus among themselves and family members.
A few Houston-area school districts have decided to add virtual classes as an option for the youngest students.
Here's a list of those districts and we'll update it as needed.
Fort Bend ISD
Fort Bend ISD will offer remote learning for students from Pre-K to sixth grade, beginning on Monday, Aug. 30. Acceptance is based on availability and staff at each grade level requested.
Here's a timeline.
- August 9-13: Application window opens for families of students in Pre-K – 6
- August 16: Families are notified of acceptance
- August 23-27: Student-parent orientation sessions take place
- August 30: Virtual learning program launches
The virtual program is for the entire fall semester. Students enrolled won’t be able to transfer to in-person learning before January 2022.
You can read more about Fort Bend’s virtual learning program here.
Katy ISD approved a Katy Virtual Academy online learning program for students enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade.
District officials said parents can begin the online application process Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. and must apply by midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 17 to enroll in the virtual instructional model.
Online instruction through the Katy Virtual Academy will officially begin on Monday, Aug. 30, and extend through Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.
Here's a timeline.
- Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m.: Online application process begins
- Tuesday, Aug. 17 at midnight: Application deadline
- Monday, Aug. 30: Online instruction begins
- Friday, Oct. 15: Online instruction ends
The district said the program is being made available for parents of those students who may wish to immunize their child against COVID but do not currently have the option to do so due to minimum age requirements tied to the current iteration of the vaccine.
Additional information regarding the instructional model can be found on the Katy Virtual Academy K-6 webpage that will open Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m.
CFISD says parents will receive an email containing a link to enroll their student.
Here's a timeline:
- Monday, Aug. 9 at 6 p.m.: Application opens
- Thursday, Aug. 12 at 8 a.m.: Application closes
- Monday, Aug. 23: First day of school
Once a vaccine is widely available to younger children, CFISD says the virtual option will no longer be offered.
Conroe ISD added a limited virtual option for students in pre-K throu sixth grade.
It will be available for select, pre-approved students who may have medical or other issues at home.
The application deadline was Tuesday, August 10.
The program won't be launched until August 23 or later, according to the superintendent.
Houston ISD has not added virtual learning but the school board is expected to pass a mask mandate when they meet on Thursday, August 12, according to Superintendent Millard House.