The Pearland ISD board of trustees approved sending its asynchronous remote learning plan to the Texas Education Agency at its Sept. 8 meeting. The district also approved a request for a waiver to the TEA for a longer phase-in period for students in case a spike in COVID-19 cases requires the district prolong its phase-in period. The district does not plan to lengthen the phase-in period otherwise, which brings all in-person students to campus Sept. 28.

The motion allows the district to meet the state requirements to receive funding in the case of a prolonged phase-in plan should the district have to go fully remote, Superintendent John Kelly said.

Cases have remained low in the district so far, Kelly said. There are two active COVID-19 cases in the district, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard as of Sept. 9.

“One thing that I am trying to get across to people is that as the year progresses, it will be less important what happens in the community as a whole than what is happening in our schools,” Kelly said.

The board also discussed all types of learning with the start of the school year as well as road bumps the district has hit so far. Receiving the rest of the technology needed for students will help the year go smoothly, Kelly said.

The district has received word that its laptops have come through production and are all in the shipping process, Chief Technology Officer Greg Bartay said. The district has almost received all of its iPads, as well, Bartay said. The district has given out roughly 3,300 devices to students, Kelly said.

“Technology has done a superb job of quickly getting those things in hand, but like the entire rest of the nation, we are waiting,” Kelly said.

The district is working on preventing student slides in learning this year as well. Board President Charles Gooden Jr. and trustee Sean Murphy both mentioned they are concerned about a student slide in learning but are grateful for the work the district is doing to prevent that.

“It’s just going to be very difficult for a multitude of families to get the quality of education Pearland ISD is used to providing. It’s just something that is completely out of our control,” Murphy said. “It’s disappointing that we are at an awkward time at this pandemic.”