“Everybody’s been looking forward to getting back and working with our kids, and that day is here,” Waldrip said on the first day of classes Aug. 13. “We’re all excited about that.”
FISD’s first three weeks of the fall will be completely virtual. Waldrip said the district has “every confidence” students who have committed to face-to-face instruction will return to campuses Sept. 3.
“We’re full speed ahead and ready to go on Sept. 3,” he said.
Students committed to an all-online learning environment will continue in Virtual Academy after face-to-face students return to campuses. As of a mid-July commitment form deadline, a little over half of students are committed to Virtual Academy.
While several reasons contributed to the decision to start the year virtually, Waldrip said the three weeks will ensure FISD’s new processes run smoothly for staff and students.
“We want to make sure that everyone is comfortable doing what they need to do,” he said. “That they have the tools and the resources they need, particularly our teachers to teach virtually effectively and to teach in person effectively.”
As of the first day of school, Waldrip said over 25,000 devices, including Chromebooks and iPads, and 200-300 WiFi hot spots have been distributed to FISD students and families for the fall.
Waldrip said a hotline is available for families to reach out with technology issues.
As FISD kicks off its new school year, Waldrip said the district is continuing to receive information and direction from the Texas Education Agency and the state around COVID-19 procedures "almost daily," Waldrip said.
“There are tweaks, changes and completely different directions sometimes that we have to go based on information we get from TEA and the state,” he said. “I expect that to continue. Hopefully it will be small changes and not drastic changes as we move forward.”