Pearland ISD Superintendent John Kelly delivered another update on the start of the school year at the district’s Oct. 13 board meeting. Kelly and the board discussed ways to relieve some teacher stress for the year, although no formal decision was made.

The district offers both remote and in-person learning for the students. As part of this, teachers in the district strive to prepare a lesson daily that accommodates remote and in-person learners, which has caused some stress for some teachers, Kelly said.

“What we are asking of [teachers] is Herculean at best,” trustee Crystal Carbone said.

At the beginning of the school year, teachers had a Friday of asynchronous learning for students, which allowed teachers to plan lessons and touch base with students and parents. Giving teachers a half-day Friday to do that again has been discussed, Kelly said, but it would not be simple to implement. It would require either adding minutes to the school day or adding days to the school year. The district is far from making a decision on changing the calendar and would not make the decision lightly, Kelly said.

Another option would be for the district to lobby the state to allow asynchronous remote learning to count toward the minutes students are required to be in school. This would allow districts to allocate days for asynchronous learning and still get attendance credit.

In the meantime, Kelly has encouraged principals to find what methods of teaching work best for the teachers and students. Schools should feel free to be "creative" with lesson plans, and teachers should not feel held to perfection, he said.

"Look, we're not expecting perfection this year. We are in a very difficult situation and all doing the best we can," Kelly said.

No decision was made on adjusting the schedule for the school year was made at the meeting. However, finding ways to relieve teacher stress will be discussed at future meetings and with individual schools, Kelly said.

“If we don’t have teachers that are less stressed and feeling OK, then no student is going to get a good education,” trustee Rebecca Decker said. “There is not a harder job, in my mind, than what our teachers are doing right now.”