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.


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