FISD’s board of trustees is holding a special meeting July 27 to discuss starting the school year Aug. 26 with only virtual learning. AISD's board of trustees is holding a meeting July 28 to discuss an Aug. 24 start date and starting the year with virtual learning. PISD is holding a meeting July 28 to discuss an Aug. 31 start date with a phased approach to on-campus learning.
Community Impact Newspaper created a survey asking teachers and staff across the Greater Houston Area to share their perspectives on going back to school next year.
One respondent to the survey, Julie Riley, a Pearland ISD parent, said she would prefer her children attend school in person.
“At this point, we are planning on sending our kids back. We really value the in-person learning,” Riley said.
Riley has one child in third grade and one in fourth grade. While her children do not struggle academically, she said she felt as though they did not learn as much as they could have in the spring. While Riley works from home, she was not able to help her children as much as a teacher would be, she said.
“I do believe our teachers are uniquely qualified,” she said.
When asked if she is concerned about her children catching the virus, she said she is not as worried now as she was in the spring, when less was known about the virus.
“We could be eating our words,” Riley said. “The helpless feeling freaked me out in the beginning, but it doesn’t hit children as hard.”
Tory Gerczak, an Alvin ISD parent, said she is opting to send her kids back to school in the fall as well. She is not pleased with the proposed plan to push back the start of the year and to offer only virtual learning at the start of the year, she said.
Gerczak has a kindergartener, a second-grader and a fifth-grader. One of her children has special needs, which played a large part in the decision to send her back to school, Gerczak said. While the district accommodated her student during the spring and summer, her child will benefit the most by being in a classroom with staff who can meet her needs, Gerczak said.
“The team my daughter has working with her—they take a strong interest in her. She needs that type of environment,” Gerczak said. “They know to take proper precautions if there are any issues at the school with COVID[-19]. I know the administration will be well on top of that.”
Both mothers said they have their children wearing masks to prepare for the next year. They also both said they are happy their districts gave parents the right to choose between virtual and in-person learning.
“I have friends who homeschool, and it’s great. I love everyone having their choice,” Riley said. “I think our district is doing the best we can. All of our educators are doing the best they can. No one is going to be happy.”