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HISD students return to in-classroom learning Monday

Those heading back to campus will be screened before entering buildings, and masks are required for everyone.

HOUSTON — For the first time this school year, HISD students are heading back to the classroom. About 40% of students have opted to return to school, while the rest will continue learning online. HISD is Texas’ largest school district.

“They are so excited," Amber Branum said.

For Branum's daughters, Faith and Grace, virtual learning just hasn’t been the best.

“They always feel like they need to have a personal connection with their teacher, and they don’t feel like they have that right now," Branum said.

Amber Branum said the decision to head back was easy.

“At some point, life does have to go on, and we just have to take general precautions," Amber Branum said.

So they’ve spent the day packing up their backpacks, adding a few new supplies like masks and hand sanitizer. Those heading back to campus will be screened before entering buildings, and masks are required for everyone.

“We’ve been really practicing with the masks and wearing them," Amber Branum said.

And doctors said that’s what parents should be doing: stressing the importance of wearing masks and practicing other precautions.

“Just that 'reminder, again and again, 'you have to wear your mask.' It’s very important,'” Memorial Hermann Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Linda Yancey said. "To tell the kids 'please avoid shaking hands, avoid touching, now is the time for the elbow bump.'”

But for some parents, Monday will be just another day at home.

“While I don’t think that he’s progressing quite as quickly academically as he might be in person, it’s still the right thing to do right now," Leah Barton said.

Barton said that for her family, virtual learning is still the best option.

“We also have regular contact with his elderly grandparents, so we’re extra conscious of keeping them safe," Barton said.