As many families in the Lone Star State have been navigating the first fall semester since the beginning of the pandemic, Blanco Independent School District (ISD) has decided to end virtual learning altogether due to declining student performance.
Students returned to in-person instruction last week, although the district indicated that children with serious health conditions would be allowed to continue learning remotely.
Superintendent Clay Rosenbaum thanked parents and guardians in the school district for their cooperation.
“However, after reviewing the data from our first six weeks of school, a large majority of our remote learners are not being successful and the added burden placed on our teachers is unsustainable,” Rosenbaum said. “This data supports the overwhelming consensus that the most successful environment to educate students is in a face-to-face setting.”
The superintendent reportedly said that 53 students were failing a class and 33 students were failing multiple subjects in a school district with only 103 students participating in virtual instruction.
Rosenbaum stated that families who object to the decision are welcome to transfer to another school, transition to homeschooling, or participate in the Texas Virtual School Network.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, data from July show that less than one-tenth of one percent of COVID-19 deaths are children under the age of 18.
The public health agency also says that schools are a “critical” part of local communities.
“COVID-19 transmission and illness are not the only risks to consider when making decisions about sending children back to school. Schools provide important services and supports for children’s academic, social-emotional and physical health,” the CDC says.
The CDC provides a tool to help parents and guardians make decisions on how to proceed with their child’s education.
Whether to send children back to schoolhouses has proven to be among the most controversial issues arising from the pandemic, such as when a Port Isabel Christian school flouted a county order to close its doors.
A patchwork of school openings has appeared across the state, including some larger school districts in North Texas gradually returning students to campuses while providing other options for parents who prefer to keep their kids at home.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.