They are challenged with how to host graduations, proms and sports tryouts as well as how to ensure technology access, organize summer school, determine a grading structure and return personal items to students.
But the emotional health of students, teachers and their families remains a top priority, superintendents from Fort Bend ISD, Katy ISD, Lamar CISD, Stafford MSD and Needville ISD superintendents said at the second Fort Bend County public education virtual town hall meeting April 29.
“The greatest obstacle in all of this is maintaining the well-being, the socioemotional, the mental health with everyone involved,” FBISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said. “The economic situation related to the energy industry and now the way the pandemic is affecting in our economy has increased stress levels in the homes throughout our community, certainly in our student homes, but also in the homes of our staff.”
Dupre added the district is receiving emotional calls from parents saying they cannot get their children out of bed to do any schoolwork.
Virtual school work is mandatory, the superintendents stressed. They encouraged frustrated parents to communicate with their students' teachers and the district to address any issues or concerns.
“Communication is key,” KISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski said. “Parents and students communicating with those teachers and principals to make sure what we are providing is working for the folks, and just a little bit of patience and understanding as we navigate this together.”
For their part, the school districts said they will be providing additional communication to parents regarding many of the ongoing operational challenges, especially now that some parents will be returning to work but students will not return to campuses in the coming weeks as the economy reopens.
The superintendents said many answers to questions such as whether the 2020-21 school year will start earlier or how summer school and camps will occur have not been answered just yet because the superintendents themselves are waiting for direction and clarity from state and local governments.
In particular, large school districts such as KISD need time to create efficient plans, Gregorski said.
“I think our community needs to take a minute or so to come up with some good plans that are effective,” he said.