HOUSTON, Texas — Alief ISD is among the first, alphabetically, in the Houston area. And it's likely the first to start school this fall.
"The overall plan has us starting Aug. 6 fully virtual for all students and staff,” said HD Chambers, Alief ISD superintendent.
The plan was formally approved Tuesday night by the school board along with the intention of remaining remote for the time being.
"My main problem was delaying our students the ability to have access to teachers and education, even in a virtual environment," Chambers said. "I didn’t want to wait another 30 days.”
Districts like Alief continue to adjust their calendars and learning protocols based on the latest COVID-19 data and guidelines. Chambers said the pandemic has created innumerable challenges but embracing and building upon change is part of the district's long-term strategy.
“We’ve purchased right at 30,000 additional devices over the summer and we’ve purchased right at 16,000 4G hotspots for families and students who need it,” Chambers said.
Tomball ISD announced it would begin classes on Aug. 18 with remote-only learning for the first four weeks.
Sheldon ISD decided to push its start date back three weeks, to Sept. 8. It will also not offer in-person learning for at least four weeks.
Texas’s largest district, Houston ISD, is using extra time before its delayed start date to further enhance its technological plan.
"We’ve selected various platforms that will be able to assist teachers with their live instruction," said interim superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan on The Texas Standard radio program. "We also created a class for parents so they understand what virtual learning is and how they can assist their child.”