After more than an hour of debate, Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved a resolution to change the current semester from a letter-grade to a pass-incomplete system at a special called, online-only meeting March 31.

With the unanimous, 7-0 approved resolution, all students during the second semester will receive a grade of either pass or incomplete. As a result, high school students’ cumulative GPAs and class ranks would not be affected by this semester’s academic performance.

The effect on GPAs and class ranks applies to only high school students and eighth-graders taking ninth-grade courses, according to LISD officials. PreK through eighth grade is not measured by either metric, officials said, but all LISD students will receive a pass or incomplete grade instead of a letter grade for each class during the current semester.

While some trustees expressed concerns from families of higher-achieving students, Gearing said LISD’s high school principals agreed unanimously that the switch to pass-incomplete was the best and most-equitable choice.

Administrators said the move would be best, particularly considering state and national projections that confirmed cases of coronavirus will increase in Texas and nationwide.

“I expect we’re going to get a lot worse before we get a lot better,” Gearing said.

At the beginning of the meeting, three people spoke remotely during citizen comments—and all said they were against the policy change.

Trenton Bledsoe, an LISD high school senior, said not updating GPA and class ranks would provide no incentive for students to learn and basically create a pass-fail system.

“Students would take advantage of the situation,” he said.

Keef Howerton has a ninth-grade son enrolled at Vista Ridge High School.

“It is unfair to not include second semester grades,” Howerton said. “It awards those that underachieve and punishes those who overachieve.”

Due to coronavirus concerns, LISD schools were closed for an additional two weeks at the end of spring break, from March 24-April 3, due to coronavirus concerns. On March 27, a week was added to the closure by LISD, closing school through April 10.

On March 31, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new executive order that mandated Texas public schools remain closed through May 4.