Friendswood board of trustees intervenes to bring struggling online students back to classroom

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas – Another Houston-area school district is attempting to rescue students who are having trouble with online learning.

Monday night the Friendswood Independent School District board of trustees voted unanimously not to end virtual learning -- but to modify it to bring struggling students back to the classroom.

About 28% of online learners in high school and 18% in junior high in the district are either failing a class or have 10 or more days of unexcused absences.

“If you’re failing classes or if you have more than 10 days of unexcused absences we want you to return to class unless you have a medical need,” said board president Tony Hopkins.

One student we spoke to talked about the difficulties of online learning.

“Some days you get to talk to the teacher,” said senior Julian Montejano. “But then on other days, you are left to your own devices.”

Starting next semester, Friendswood teachers will also have eight extra days to work on the curriculum or with students who are struggling. Administrators and board members say the impact COVID-19 has had on education could last for quite some time.

“There’s studies out there after Katrina that it took six years for those students to regain what they had lost,” said Hopkins. “And there are studies out there right now and this is worldwide. And it’s one of the untalked about issues with this pandemic.”

While some of these modifications won’t take effect until next semester, the district already has started asking students who are struggling online to return to class.

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