Virtual classroom options, social distancing: Here’s what we know about Montgomery ISD bringing students back this fall

Montgomery ISD
The Montgomery ISD board of trustees met June 16 to discuss contingency plans. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Montgomery ISD board of trustees met June 16 to discuss contingency plans. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

The state of Texas has not yet released its final requirements for schools opening for fall 2020-21 amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but Montgomery ISD has laid out a tentative plan for its district. The plan includes returning to traditional instruction with spaced-out desks as well as virtual classroom options. However, MISD is waiting on further clarification from the state on issues such as transportation.

At this time, the district has opted to not change its traditional calendar, MISD interim Superintendent Ann Dixon said at June 16 board of trustees meeting. This means usual breaks such as summer and spring break are still scheduled.

“I think we need to stay consistent with that so there won’t be conflicts with parents being off and children being in school,” Dixon said.

The district will likely offer a remote learning option for students who do not wish to return to face-to-face instruction. Dixon emphasized this option would be as rigorous as traditional classroom settings and students would be required to attend 420 minutes of school per day.

“It’s not going to look like last spring. It’s going to be school,” she said.

Because the state is not mandating personal protective equipment such as face masks for students and personnel, MISD will not be requiring it for academic year 2020-21, Dixon said. However, increased sanitation measures will continue, and MISD will need to plan out classroom arrangements to ensure social distancing guidelines are in place, she said.

Dixon said MISD is still awaiting clarification from the state on transportation issues. At this time, buses are restricted to 15 students, and MISD has 74 passenger buses.

“One of our biggest obstacles is transportation,” Dixon said. “Unless if parents bring their children, it’s going to be impossible for us to transport them.”

Final decisions about school schedules and transportation need to be made by Aug. 1, district officials said.

Dixon said she understands parents may have many questions and concerns regarding the upcoming year. She added MISD will be sending out a parent survey to gauge feedback on what concerns parents may have.

“We want your children back,” she said. “What are we going to do if we have another outbreak? My crystal ball broke a long time ago, and I don’t even know how much of that decision-making will be in our hands.”
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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