Fort Bend ISD families have until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 12 to change between online and in-person learning for Term 3, which begins when students return to school Jan. 7 and runs through March 12.

After speaking with campus leaders, teachers and counselors, Superintendent Charles Dupre said the district will strive to facilitate a smooth transition.

“As we plan for T3, the common theme that emerged was stability,” Dupre said during the Nov. 9 board of trustees meeting. “Keep things stable: That’s what was asked of us from all levels. They don’t want any more change.”

Although Dupre said many stakeholders believed aligning the in-person and online bell schedules would be better, the principals and counselors who would have to do this said it would require a lot of work and another overhaul of student schedules.

“I really think it’s important in the future to sit down with these stakeholders before we do the planning next time,” trustee Kristin Tassin said. “I’ve been beating the drum on aligning schedules for a few board meetings, and that was the feedback that we got—that that would have made life a lot easier.”

As of the morning of Nov. 9, Dupre said there were 257 requests across the district to move from face-to-face to online. There were 1,754 requests across the district to move from online to face-to-face.

Families who request learning model changes after the Nov. 12 deadline will join a wait list, which will be considered later in January after the start of the new semester. No action is required for students who want to stay in their current learning model selection.

“None of the numbers yet are staggering,” Dupre said. “They are in the 40s and 50s [per campus], so that’s a healthy number that we can work with.”

District campuses are undergoing building utilization evaluations to determine how many students each campus can hold. Dupre said the district is moving away from the 45-square-foot allocation per student in the classroom and moving toward maintaining six feet of social distance when appropriate.

“I’ve been very careful to tell our teachers, 'We are not going to load up a bunch of kids in your room,'” Dupre said. “Sometimes, we might have to squeeze one or two more in based on the need, ... [but] I want teachers to make sure they feel protected and that they see evidence of that in their room.”