SAN ANTONIO – The ever-continuing coronavirus pandemic is causing concern for parents, educators and students who are wondering what the safest ways are to move forward in the upcoming academic school year.
KSAT asked viewers to weigh in and the responses came fast, and sometimes furious, as officials are scrambling to make adjustments and alter protocols for the impending school year.
Some viewer responses have been listed below but you still have a chance to weigh in. Fill out the prompt under the responses and you might see your opinion published in our next Classroom Confessional. Find other confessionals here.
Find more background information about where things stand currently with the Texas education system and find the latest education news in our back to school section.
I am an employee at NEISD. Schools are requiring employees to work from home, putting them at a health risk, and now they are forcing employees children to come to work so they don’t have to abide to the CARES act. Now they are putting children at risk too, even though it is deemed unsafe.Anonymous
How will the schools keep teachers safe? My wife is a teacher with the archdiocese. She hasn’t been informed of any plan. It seems like the archdiocese isn’t concerned about teachers. Will thecity keep them from opening?Anonymous
Sending kids to school in person is a horrible mistake. There are too many lives at risk with this disease.Anonymous
Hell no! I can’t believe the state would use our children as guinea pigs to get statistics. Not my children!! We’re just rolling the dice here, nobody has any answers yet.Gloria
I’m scared!! I love my job and have been a Teacher for 38 yrs!! I am 63 yrs. old and considering retirement in December. I want to retire and be able to live to see my Grandchildren graduate from college one day. Praying for all Educators, Staff, and especially our Students!! Keep schools closed!!!Maria
Local schools have been working so hard this summer to accommodate both virtual and in-person learning. Thursday’s guidance from the CDC about the importance of face to face learning is great news.Mary
I am a teacher and I have contacted my lawyer and will be suing the school and school board and superintendent if I catch COVID.Anonymous
The virus needs to be under control before I allow my kids to return to school. I have one son who lives in my home with a serious underlying condition and I can’t risk him getting COVID-19. Too much of a risk for my household.Krissy
Full remote learning to start the year is crazy. Students who want to return should be allowed to.Anonymous
No one is thinking about colleges opening as scheduled. Alamo colleges are threatening those who have health issues with their jobs. If they choose the option to teach online only - they’re still forced to come to campus for labs with students and to video labs.Anonymous
I am speaking as a Texas educator of 15 years. A mother of 5 school-aged children. I am speaking on behalf of every teacher, mother, student, cafeteria worker, office clerk, librarian, custodian, bus driver, parent, grandparent of Texas. DO NOT EVEN UTTER THE WORDS RETURN TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION.Anonymous
I’m a retired teacher, 31 years with SAISD. My daughter is a teacher. What happens when a teacher uses all their sick leave day due to coronavirus?? They won’t get paid! If there aren’t enough substitutes will other class sizes be compromised (6 feet) to cover? Just a few of many concerns!Anonymous
I am very concerned for children to return to school. I don’t understand how an article was posted stating corona is not likely to be transmitted through young children. Then how did 11 children from the children’s home test positive? No one is immune to this virus!Velma
Why aren’t catholic schools required to follow the governor mandate for classes to be online until Sept 7th????!!! I feel that extra time is needed to evaluate things before in-person learning can be considered.Anonymous
Kids have the ability to carry virus into their home and spread upon families and it will certainly spread all over again.Anonymous
I feel our students need to go to school to keep budgets. There is no real concern for safety. I will homeschool they will not be returning.Anonymous
How will administrations accommodate students after one of their classmates or teachers dies of COVID-19? Are there plans in place? Are there plans for the psychological effects that a student will face when he or she brings the virus home to his or her family? What if a student kills a family member?Anonymous
Single dad of 4 kids. My first priority is my kid’s safety and school right now is not safe at all, even with what they are doing with safety protocols. This virus is no joke and can spread in the schools like wildfire. So as a parent you can do everything you like, my kids will not go into the classroom.Anonymous
Children should be back at school in-person. Distance learning does not work. We pay property taxes to have classes in-person. Teachers are essential workers. If H-E-B and Walmart can be open then schools can be open. The teachers want to get paid just to be able to stay home.Lee
It is NOT safe to send children and staff back to school during a pandemic. My children are sick enough during the fall and winter months with the usual illnesses. I can not imagine mixing that with COVID.Nicole
How can Governor Abbott, TEA and SBEC be okay with having our children return to school during this pandemic with no vaccines! Shame on you for saying our children’s lives don’t matter to you. I won’t risk my children’s lives nor my family’s as an outbreak can occur at any given second.Anonymous
As an educator I would prefer going back to the classroom. I just don’t think it’s a wise choice at this point. Online works as long as the students are accountable and actually get online. How many said they could not get online yet we’re on Snapchat, Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook all the time?Anonymous
I feel the number of cases will increase during face-to-face instruction when schools open. Virtual classrooms using Zoom & Google Classroom proved to be effective. Schools closed after Spring Break when there were approximately less than 615 cases. Today we’re at over 36,000 cases.Anonymous
My 7-year-old can barely stand having the mask on for more than 30 mins. Cannot imagine him or his classmates lasting hours with masks on and not touching their faces. Think of all the times your child has coughed/sneezed (before pandemic) and you had to remind them to cover their mouths.Anonymous
I am worried about the students and teachers. Teachers will not be able to concentrate on teaching. They will be concentrating more on telling the students to keep away from one another, don’t touch things, wash your hands. It will be so hard and stressful. Especially for the younger kids.Anonymous
We have to get back to life. Hiding inside is un-American. Life has risks. We used to be a brave country that faced those risks head-on and have become a nation of scaredy-cats.Joey
My granddaughter has asthma, she is definitely not going back to school this year!!!Anonymous
Parent of 2, but my son will be in 8th grade and he is afraid of getting sick and bringing it home. I recently had a kidney transplant, I have a compromised immune system. I’m scared too. I also work for NISD, I would put myself in danger if we are having to go back while the numbers are still high.Anonymous
As a teacher as well as a parent, I support starting virtually. However, I feel that special needs students and students with many accommodations should be the first students to go back to school in person. It’s very difficult/near impossible to meet those needs in an online setting.Anonymous
I am a Pre-K teacher. Children need to be back in school. We are surrounded by viruses, flu and other illnesses every year.Andrea
Teachers are not babysitters. Stop saying that parents need to get to work, so kids should attend school. If your child gets COVID due to school then you’ll be missing work to care for them. We’re better educated in distance learning now and are ready to challenge students virtually.Anonymous
As an educator, I am extremely concerned about the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s decision to allow in person school. This is being done against health directives set forth by medical professionals. This decision is being made to keep enrollment. Very disappointing.Anonymous
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Most local schools are set to start the academic year in August, however, it’s left districts, teachers and parents wondering how to keep kids and educators safe while still providing the best possible learning environment.
CDC recommendations for in-classroom learning, in addition to wearing masks, include, spreading out desks, staggering schedules, eating meals in classrooms instead of cafeterias and adding physical barriers in certain areas.
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District published a directive July 17 saying Bexar County students will have access to learning materials virtually but won’t have access to in-person instruction or extra-curricular activities, including athletics, until at least Sept. 7.
State funding of schools, typically based on classroom attendance, will also include students taking virtual classes in the attendance figures, according to the Texas Tribune. However, for school districts that remain closed because of a local health mandate, the TEA will not provide funding.
The announcement not to fund schools that remain closed came shortly after a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that argued that local health officials “do not have the authority to shut down all schools in their vicinity while COVID-19 cases rise,” the Texas Tribune reported.
Some area private and religious schools are arguing that the health department does not hold jurisdiction to prohibit religious schools from gathering, claiming freedom of religion and citing Paxton’s letter. Metro Health officials have countered this claim based on a potential threat to public health.
Cornerstone Church, one of the largest megachurches in San Antonio, filed a lawsuit last week against Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Metro Health and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. The lawsuit seeks a ruling from the court that would allow the megachurch’s school to reopen for in-person classroom instruction before Sept. 7.
A court decision could determine that private schools are exempt from the Metro Health directive requiring virtual learning for students.
The University Interscholastic League announced on July 21 that schools, based on size, will have delayed athletics practice and competitions. Schools in the Class 1A - 4A bracket will restart practices on August 3, while Class 5A and 6A schools will have to wait until Sept. 7 to begin.
Under the TEA guidance, schools are required to comply with the governor’s mask order. Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of the virus or has a lab-confirmed test must stay home throughout the infection period and cannot return until symptoms have improved and at least three days have passed since recovery, according to the guidance.