Montgomery ISD officials estimate at least 92% of students will enroll in on-campus learning for the start of the second semester of the school year, compared to about 85% that returned in person Sept. 8, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

Estimates are based off applications that were sent out requiring parents to submit an intent for remote instruction for second semester, officials said at a Dec. 15 board of trustees meeting. Among the responses, 157 elementary applications were returned, which is 11 fewer than the current number of remote elementary students, and 350 secondary applications were returned, which is 291 fewer than the current remote secondary students.

“Our parents are choosing to send them back. I think they’ve recognized that we have a lot of good procedures in place,” said Wendy Graves, MISD’s assistant superintendent of elementary education. “Our parents are feeling more comfortable with what we are doing.”

Duane McFadden, MISD’s assistant superintendent of secondary education, said although hundreds of applications were not returned, this does not necessarily mean all of those students will return to campus as parents may have simply not filled out the required form on time. However, he estimates at least 92% of students will return.

District officials review the applications for remote learning, and approval is granted based on student’s current participation and grades in remote instruction as well as medical concerns of the student and members of the household. There were 16 elementary and 57 secondary applications that were not approved due to poor grades, Graves said, adding parents have the option to appeal the denial if they provide medical documentation.

Officials also said a hybrid model where students can flip from in-person to remote learning will continue, as this has been successful when students need to quarantine due to COVID-19.

“One day last week we quarantined 56 kids,” McFadden said.

A pilot program called Late Arrival Wednesday that began this school year will also continue into the spring semester. Nearly every other Wednesday, in-person secondary students can begin their school day at a later time, allowing teachers to better prepare for their lessons and spend time with their remote learners. Officials said they have received positive feedback from parents, students and teachers.