San Augustine launches online instruction while Broaddus may resort to pen and paper

Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 8:09 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - As public schools delay face-to-face instruction, superintendents' attention turns to online instruction. Lines formed before noon Tuesday for San Augustine ISD students to pick up small laptops for online learning.

Teachers advised middle and high school students to make sure to stay in close communication with their teachers.

Students can begin the remote instruction as early as tomorrow explains superintendent Dr. Virginia Liepman. The students are accustomed to using the computers in their classrooms. Their adjustment will be using them at home exclusively.

"A couple of years ago our district purchased 600 Chromebooks or the small computers and so our students grades 3-12 can have a computer at home," explained Liepman.

Students will use a popular learning tool currently used by many school districts in east texas and across the state called Google Classroom.

" It will allow us to track them daily and our teachers can communicate through the Google thread which is a group conversation they can have,” explained Kim Holloway, middle school principal. “They can have individual conversations in case the child needs help."

Still, some students are anxious about the idea.

"The teachers aren't really there to help,” said student Valerie Medina. “I think it's better a person teaches you."

It's a learning curve for everyone involved. Even parents who are concerned about internet connections.

"We don't have a provider,” said parent Kattie Conner. “So we're going to see how that goes."

Administrators say a gift presented last year from T-Mobile will take care of that.

"They gave all of our students a hot spot,” said Liepman. “So our students were able to take home a hot spot to do any work they needed to do if they didn't have any internet in their home."

And this year the provider gave additional data. The goal is to keep students learning.

Teachers have other concerns on their minds.

One asked a student, “Any questions?” After he replied,” no” the teacher said, “Take care of yourself.”

San Augustine ISD has not determined a date to resume face-to-face instruction.

Broaddus is another school district in San Augustine county. It’s a remote location, near lake Sam Rayburn. The district has internet dead zones -- which is more typical for many rural school districts in East Texas.

Nevertheless, superintendent Lucas Holloway says he has a contingency plan during the COVID-19 interruptions.

"We have what we're calling a low tech and a high tech need. Our low tech is pen and paper,” said Holloway. “Our high tech will be if the students actually have the resources for wifi connections or have devices to log into their computer programs to meet their instructional need."

Holloway said a survey will be conducted of all 400 plus students to see what their personal online capabilities may be. the superintendent was told Tuesday by the county’s emergency management director that attempts will be made to obtain an internet booster truck for the district.

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