The discussion was made during the Sept. 8 board meeting, where more than 10 EISD community members advocated for in-person learning.
“Open schools, stop the scare tactics and inject common sense,” parent Jennifer Stevens said.
The board of trustees revisited a Texas Education Agency waiver passed Aug. 11 that enabled the district to extend remote learning for up to eight weeks without losing funding. During that time period, the district planned to gradually phase students back into the classroom.
EISD already welcomed back about 25% of students on campus Sept. 8—a percentage that represents those who face the greatest challenges with remote learning, including students receiving special education services.
EISD will continue to limit capacity to 25% until Sept. 21, according to district information. Following that date, the district is now planning to offer in-person learning for all families if desired.
Of the district’s 7,974 students, 59% of families chose in-person learning over remote instruction.
The district initially considered a resolution to rescind the TEA waiver in light of “updated information from district families regarding the learning choices,” among other reasons listed in the Sept. 8 meeting agenda. However, trustees ultimately decided the waiver would provide the district with increased local control and unanimously voted to keep the orders intact.
“I fundamentally do not want to give up the local control that we have been given,” board President Jennifer Champagne said. “That being said, [Superintendent Tom] Leonard, I’d really like a commitment from you and from your staff that, if we keep this waiver, there won’t be changes to this plan without a meeting of the board.”
Leonard confirmed the district’s intentions to open campuses for all students who requested in-person instruction Sept. 21 and said any alterations to that plan would warrant board approval.