Magnolia ISD Superintendent Todd Stephens announced the district would not hold in-person learning until at least after Labor Day, during a full—by social distancing standards—MISD board meeting July 20.

“It was a priority to get our schools back and operate in Magnolia ISD,” he said. “We will have to fill in a lot of blanks of what [the start of school] will look like.”

Stephens said superintendents in Montgomery County received a letter July 20 from both the Montgomery County Public Health District and the Montgomery County Hospital District, asking school districts to delay in-person instruction until after Sept. 7.

The issue of not having enough bed space in hospitals was the reason behind why districts were asked to hold off of reopening, Stephens said.

“[The health departments] didn’t have a major concern with students coming back into our building,” he said. “But they have a concern with our kids and adults coming back that could lead to challenges to healthcare in Montgomery County with the situation as it is right now.”

Stephens said the health departments have allowed the district to bring in students in small groups, and for a short amount of time, to meet teachers. All MISD students will participate in remote learning until the district reopens for in-person learning, Stephens said.

Prior to Stephens announcing the change, the MISD board heard public comments from parents and teachers about opening schools back up this fall.

Emily Neumann, a teacher at Magnolia High School, said she did not want the district to open as cases continue to rise.

“I help students work and write through trauma, but I don’t want to do this when the trauma is avoidable,” she said.

Neumann said she did not want to put her fiance at risk of the coronavirus should she catch it from having to be at school with students.

Melinda Olinde, a parent of a MISD high school student, said she wanted school to reopen as she saw how happy her daughter was just by meeting up with friends.

“Use common sense, and let school take place again,” she said.

Stephens said he misses having children back in schools, but the district will wait until the county gives the all clear to reopen.

“We are going to respect the wishes of our health care officials in Montgomery County,” he said.