The Fort Bend ISD board of trustees approved two waivers related to Winter Storm Uri during the March 8 special meeting.
The first waiver is for the five days from Feb. 16-19 and Feb. 22 when school was closed completely, and the second is for the three days of online-only learning Feb. 24-26.
“Talk about a one-two punch, we’ve got the pandemic as one punch, then we come back with the winter event with the second punch,” trustee and board President Addie Heyliger said.
Superintendent Charles Dupre said the Texas Education Agency allowed for these waivers following the winter storm, which affected every district in the state. All neighboring districts, including Katy ISD, Lamar CISD and Alief ISD, are asking their boards to approve the same waivers, Dupre said.
In coming to this decision, Dupre said district staff had tough conversations about needing to make up instructional time as so much time has already been lost this year. However, he said this has to be balanced against the need to finish the school year as scheduled and allow for summer interventions and break.
“As a team, we determined our organization just can’t handle much more stress, and adding six days to the school year would be exceedingly stressful to everybody, including our students,” Dupre said.
After the waivers, FBISD still has one full day of minutes—instruction time lost on Feb. 23—to make up. The district will apply its existing bank of minutes for half the day and adjust one day at the end of school year from a half day to a full day. Middle and high schools students will now have a full day June 2, and elementary students will have a full day June 3.
FBISD employees will receive pay for the five days school was closed, according to district documents