Remote learning plans for 2021-22 uncertain for Conroe, Montgomery, Willis ISDs

Several bills have been filed pertaining to remote learning. (Courtesy Canva)
Several bills have been filed pertaining to remote learning. (Courtesy Canva)

Several bills have been filed pertaining to remote learning. (Courtesy Canva)

Since fall 2020, local school districts have been operating on a hybrid model by offering in-person and remote learning options amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Although Conroe, Montgomery and Willis ISDs are continuing to offer some form of online learning for the remainder of this school year, the districts have not formalized plans for the 2021-22 school year.

“There are situations where students or immediate family members have medical issues that make remote learning necessary,” WISD Director of Communications Jamie Fails said in an email. “Whether or not this continues into the fall 2021 has not yet been discussed.”

District data shows that an increasing number of students are choosing to attend in person. For instance, 67.8% of students in CISD chose in-person learning for the first nine weeks of school. But as of January, that number has increased to 80.4%.

“We believe [students enrolled in remote learning] could continue to drop but anticipate there will be a portion of our community who will always view it as a desirable option,” Sarah Blakelock, CISD director of communications, said in an email. “Conroe ISD will continue to offer remote/online instruction as long as we are able and our community shows interest.”

Between 90-92% of WISD students have returned in-person as of January, compared to about 60% in the beginning of the school year. For Montgomery ISD, officials estimated in December that at least 92% of students would enroll in-person for the start of the second semester, compared to about 85% at the school year start.


Statewide, it is unclear what the future holds for remote learning options. Remote options available this school year were made possibly through waivers of existing state law, and how that might look post-pandemic could possibly be addressed during the upcoming legislative session, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Several bills have been filed pertaining to remote learning. Senate Bill 226, filed by Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, more clearly outlines training requirements for teachers regarding virtual learning, and S.B. 258, filed by Sen. Jose Menendez, would provide an annual allotment to schools based off student attendance to be used to improve access to distance learning.
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.


MOST RECENT

Emerging technology and alternative energy sectors could help ease the blow of an oil and gas industry downturn in Houston caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Houston-area economist said. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Greater Houston area could see economic relief from pandemic around mid-2021, economist says

Emerging technology and alternative-energy sectors could help ease the blow of the downturn in Houston's oil and gas industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Montgomery ISD trustees adopted a resolution calling for the state to prioritize school district employees in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process, according to a release from the district. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery ISD trustees urge state to prioritize educators in vaccine distribution

"Since day one of this challenging school year, our teachers and school district staff have been heroes for our students,” Board President Matt Fuller said in the release.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough addressed his guilty plea in a Feb. 24 Facebook video. (Screenshot via Mark Keough Facebook)
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough pleads guilty to DWI charge in September crash

According to a Feb. 24 court filing, Keough's plea bargain terms include fines and a three-month driver's license suspension.

Conroe ISD board of trustees President Skeeter Hubert presented a resolution supporting priority vaccinations for Texas teachers during the Feb. 23 meeting. (Screenshot via Conroe ISD YouTube)
Conroe ISD board discusses incentive program plans, support for teacher vaccinations Feb. 23

Board members also approved several construction and purchasing items during the regular meeting.

Excessive groundwater use from aquifers can lead to subsidence, or sinking of the earth, which can exacerbate the activity of fault lines. Fault lines criss-cross Montgomery County, including this one at the corner of Sgt. Ed. Holcomb Blvd. N. and Hwy. 105 in Conroe. (Eva Vigh, Community Impact Newspaper)
As ground sinks, debate ensues over Montgomery County's groundwater

Excessive groundwater use can lead to subsidence, or sinkng of the earth. Officials disagree on how much groundwater the county should pump.

Volunteers from the food bank distribute clean drinking water. (Courtesy Montgomery County Food Bank)
Montgomery County Food Bank aids over 6,500 during Winter Storm Uri

The food bank is in need of donations and volunteers following the winter storm.

Following a yearlong hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown officials are planning to reopen the Spring water park for the 2021 season May 1. (Courtesy Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown)
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown targets May 1 opening

2021 also marks the 60th anniversary of Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

Applications for up to $250 in assistance will be available until Feb. 26. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College System announces financial aid for students, faculty affected by winter storm

Applications for financial assistance will be accepted until Feb. 26.

Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null spoke during a Feb. 21 livestream about the district's status following the winter storm. (Screenshot via Conroe ISD YouTube)
Conroe, Montgomery, Willis ISDs assessing damages following winter storm

Districts reported burst pipes and flooding on various campuses.

Jason Millsaps, chief of staff for County Judge Mark Keough, addresses questions regarding the operations at Woodforest Bank Stadium. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County to take over Woodforest Stadium vaccinations in March at cost of $130K per month

The county is looking to consolidate operations to Woodforest Bank Stadium beginning March 1.

The Cargo Homes include a private front porch area. (Courtesy Happy Goat Retreat)
Happy Goat Retreat, a luxury outdoor resort, eyes summer opening in Willis

The venue will include a communal fire pit and an animal pen area with American pygmy goats and a llama.

David Mittelman (left) is the founder of Othram, a private forensic laboratory in The Woodlands. (Courtesy Othram)
Montgomery County Forensic Services, local forensic lab identify deceased man from 2016 case

Othram, located in The Woodlands, has a track record of solving hard-to-crack cases, including those that have sat for decades.