HOUSTON — As COVID-19 cases across the state surge, some local school districts have decided to offer virtual learning options for their younger students.
Cy-Fair Independent School District is the latest to announce it will offer temporary virtual learning options for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
"Although the state has not funded a virtual learning option for the 2021-2022 school year, we recognize that our K-6 students are not yet eligible for vaccinations. Therefore, we will offer a temporary virtual learning option for students in grades K-6," Cy-Fair ISD Superintendent Mark Henry said in a statement on Monday. "Per Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order, face masks cannot be mandated for students and staff. However, CDC’s guidance recommends universal masking of all individuals in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Although face masks are optional for all students and staff, after visiting with our local hospitals, at this time, I strongly encourage everyone to wear face masks while indoors on our campuses."
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
It will last at least through the first marking period and then will be reevaluated. Once a vaccine is widely available, the virtual option will no longer be offered. Students opting for virtual learning will not be allowed to participate in extra-curricular and other on-campus activities.
No teachers will be assigned to teach virtually and in person at the same time.
Children under 12 are still not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which has some parents nervous when it comes to in-person instruction. And schools aren't allowed to implement any mandatory mask policies due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.
At the end of the regular legislative session in Austin earlier this year, a bill that would have paid for and allowed remote learning stalled when Democrats broke quorum in the fight over voting rights legislation.
Despite Abbott's order, Houston ISD is voting Thursday on a plan that would implement a mask mandate.
HISD Superintendent Millard House said the mandate would likely be approved and he's not worried about ramifications that could come from defying Abbott's order.
HISD has not announced plans for a virtual learning program.
Fort Bend ISD
The decision came a few days after parents expressed concern over the safety of their children.
This is the tweet the Fort Bend Independent School District put out Sunday. FBISD said it started working on "limited-enrollment virtual school."
In FBISD, in-person instruction begins on Wednesday.
Click here or in the link below for more information on FBISD's virtual learning plan.
Last week, KHOU 11 Anchor Len Cannon interviewed FBISD Acting Superintendent Diana Sayavedra about the upcoming school year.
Last week, Conroe ISD announced that it would be offering a "limited virtual program" for students in Pre-K through 6th grade. The program in CISD will be offered through application only and will only be offered for one semester. The application window will close on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Virtual instruction will not begin until at least Aug. 23.