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Fort Bend ISD parents must select learning option for students for spring semester

HOUSTON – Fort Bend ISD parents considering to change their child’s learning environment for the spring semester have a day left to decide.

The deadline is looming for parents looking to move their child from in-person classes to online learning or the other way around. The district has requested parents fill out a form via Skyward Family Access by November 12 at 11:59 p.m.

Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre said as of Tuesday about 4,000 out of 77,000 students have requested a change.

“As of today, there are vastly more parents choosing to send their children from the online environment into the face-to-face environment for Term 3 as opposed to a much smaller number that are choosing to go from the face-to-face to online” the superintendent said.

Dalia Abouzeid, a mother of two, said she was considering switching her third grader and sixth grader to in-person learning, but ultimately decided to keep them in virtual classrooms. Abouzeid said she was hoping families would have another month before they had to decide.

“There were just too many variables that we couldn’t make the decision to change what’s been going well for us for something with too many unknowns still,” said Abouzeid.

Jamie Adams and his daughter Anna said their decision for the Spring semester was mutual.

“I just like the comfort of my home. I get to wake up right like three minutes before I go to class, eating ice cream on my breaks,” said the Travis High School tenth grade student.

Anna also said she has fewer pressures at home than if she were to return to school.

“I don’t want to wear a mask all the time. It feels like too much of a prison,” she said. “There are too many rules and I could just relax at home. So, I’m not interested in going back.”

Her father Jamie said while he would rather his daughter benefit from social interaction in the classroom, he said the risks are too high. Jamie has asthma and auto-immune disease. He said with COVID-19 cases surging it’s safer to keep his daughter home.

“We don’t particularly enjoy them being at home this way but at the same time safety is my priority,” he said.

Parents such as Adams and Abouzeid who are comfortable with their children’s learning format do not have to submit a form to the district by Thursday’s deadline, only parents that want to make a change.

The district said parents that respond after the November 12 deadline will be placed on a waiting list for January. He said starting November 13 the district will begin making the schedule for the upcoming term.

Dupre said depending on the response from parents who have filed changes to their child’s learning format, there could be more teachers returning to the classroom. Some students could also be shifted to other schools to accommodate social distancing.

“We’re going to be as stable as we can but there will be a movement for both face-to-face and online students as we build a new schedule and create a little larger face-to-face environment,” he said.

Dupre said if a school does not have the capacity to accommodate many students wanting to switch to in-person learning, the district will consider turning large multi-purpose rooms into classrooms. He said he’s even considered utilizing portable buildings and moving children to other campuses if warranted.