Deer Park ISD is hoping to have the majority of students back on campus at the start of the new year. The district is calling the plan Reboot 2021.
The district said they believe face-to-face learning is vital to their students’ success.
Sophomore Anthony Garcia agreed and is already back on campus.
“I think it’s better if kids come back to school because more people are better face-to-face learners,” Garcia said.
In a letter to parents, the district listed several reasons for the new plan, they include:
- Students who participate in remote learning are falling behind their F2F peers academically and socially. This is particularly true for elementary students, for whom social interaction and routines are very important.
- The district’s campuses have had several months to continually improve safety precautions. As an additional safety measure, all students will be required to wear a mask during the school day except during lunch.
- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among students and employees has remained relatively low. Currently, the number of active student cases in DPISD is less than half of one percent of the total student body.
- Compared with the first nine weeks last year, more students are failing this year, and this fact is particularly true for remote learners. The percentage of students failing one or more classes went from 16 percent last year to 23 percent this year. The percent of students failing two or more classes doubled; it increased from seven percent last year to 15 percent this year.
- Remote students are less likely to complete their work and often fail to turn in assignments.
- Like many other districts offering remote learning, DPISD has also faced ongoing problems with remote students at the secondary level who check-in at the beginning of the class period to get attendance credit, then leave the class or neglect their homework. When the District first offered remote instruction during the early weeks of the pandemic, some students never reported to school.
The district said there will be exceptions to their plan, which include students with compromised immune systems or students who live with a family member with serious health issues. Those students will require a note from the doctor and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Sophomore student Leila Bustos said she suffers from Asthma and doesn’t quite feel comfortable going back to school because of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Busto said unlike some of her peers she has adjusted nicely to remote learning.
“I know for some students it’s been a lot harder to do it over Zoom, but not for me. It’s been easier my grades have honestly improved,” she said.
Bustos has applied to continue with remote learning but is waiting on the district to approve her decision.
“I just don’t want to expose her if’s not necessary,” said her mother Lisa Alanis.
The district will review over 500 applications that they have received since Dec. 18.
The school board is expected to vote on the Reboot 2021 plan next Monday.