As the COVID-19 pandemic has worn on, area school districts have prepared for the possibility of extended online learning.
Fort Bend ISD and Stafford MSD will conduct summer school virtually and also are preparing to potentially continue offering at-home learning to begin the 2020-21 school year. Both districts have considered hybrid models that include in-person, hands-on classes with social distancing measures in place.
“I’ve heard that uncertainty is making some parents anxious and curious about educational choices for their children, including homeschooling,” FBISD superintendent Charles Dupre said in a video message posted to the district’s website May 27. “I am also aware that when summer is over and it is time for school to resume, some families will still be cautious, and even fearful about the virus.”
FBISD has implemented a distance learning program during the last nine weeks that students can access online. The district’s “At-Home Learning,” which can be accessed at fortbendisd.com/domain/17285, has tools, videos and curriculum to keep students engaged.
Meanwhile, Stafford MSD has also expanded the breadth of its Stafford Learns website (staffordmsd.org/academics/stafford-learns) during the pandemic.
The paradigm shift has not been without some growing pains, such as students having difficulty accessing the internet or necessary software from home. But both Dupre and SMSD superintendent Robert Bostic said the problems have been ironed out.
“Online learning has definitely been a positive experience for many of our students, but for others, it has been very stressful,” Dupre said. “Members of our FBISD family have navigated many emotions during these past nine weeks, but they have continued to press forward.”
FBISD will be accepting feedback on suggestions from stakeholders this week, while SMSD is in the process of organizing a town hall to solicit suggestions from the community.
“That’s why we ask forgiveness along the way, because we’re sure we didn’t do it completely right (the first time).” Bostic said during a May 28 Zoom town hall meeting with trustees. “Many of our teachers, parents and students never thought they’d have to depend on technology so much to get the kind of instruction we had to get out to kids. We can always get better.”