DEEP EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Schools are on track to reopen next month. East Texas Now hosted a roundtable discussion where superintendents across the area shared some thoughts on how their districts may look on the first day of school.
“We’re not starting school like we ever did before,” Nacogdoches ISD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said.
School districts across East Texas continue to redefine their plans after the Texas Education Agency released guidance on how school districts can return to on-campus learning. Many challenges remain like how to socially distance on campus.
“What will lunch look like and what is transportation is going to look like are what keeps us up at night,” Lufkin ISD Superintendent Lynn Torres said. “Trying to figure out how we are going to have social distancing on a bus when they’re little ones coming for Pre-K. It’s going to a challenge, and we’re going to have to do what we can.”
Virtual learning was another topic of discussion.
“You’re going to see teacher-led lessons and giving kids the chance to do homework after the teacher-led lesson,” Torres said. “So, it’s going to be a whole lot more hands-on. I think our parents are going to be happier about the delivery method they are going to experience if they chose virtual learning.”
Some superintendents say with virtual learning comes connectivity issues in their district.
“Fortunately, McMullen Library here in Huntington you can pull up and get on the Wi-Fi,” Huntington ISD Superintendent David Flowers said. “We’re looking at all the platforms. There are some out there where they can do the work, and once they get signal somewhere, they can send it in. So, we’re studying that.”
There are concerns about how students will handle being back in school.
“The priority coming back is the social and emotion side of our kids,” Trujillo said. “How are they going to engage with each other? They’ve been told for weeks and weeks on end they can’t play with friends, they can’t attend a birthday party. They can’t go on vacation then all of a sudden, they come right back into school.”
School administrators say they hope to release plans in the coming weeks.
“We’ve been working on getting school started since we stopped,” Trujillo said. “We just want to make sure we start it safely.”