SAN ANTONIO – Most San Antonio-area school districts have kicked off the 2020-2021 school year - a handful in-classrooms but mostly online.
The debate between in-person vs. virtual learning is ongoing and parents, students and teachers are sharing their thoughts about the best option for how to continue student’s education amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Viewers have been sending in their “classroom confessionals” over the last few weeks and you can see some of the newest submissions below. Responses in this article were sent in Aug. 7 - 14. Another Classroom Confessional article is forthcoming.
If you have an opinion you’d like to share, fill out the prompt under the responses and you could see your opinion published in our next Classroom Confessional article. You can also have your voice heard in the comment section below. Find past confessionals here.
Find more background information about where things currently stand with the Texas education system and the latest education news in our back to school section here.
My daughter attends Brooks Collegiate Academy, a public charter school. Her school is offering virtual classes for the whole school year as well as on-campus learning after Labor Day. We’re doing virtual/online school, our city is worse now than when we were asked to shelter in place in March.Anonymous
My husband and I are odds over our eldest, a middle school teacher who is pregnant, returning. For children, the RISK is equal or below that of flu (educate yourselves). Do you keep your kids home during flu season? Teachers stay safe like you would during flu season, but the choice is yours alone.Lucy
It’s not safe! I understand the importance of child development being around their peers and they talk about having social distancing and masks to make it safe. You won’t have everyone following rules. I can guarantee that you will have kids not wearing masks, hugging, sharing food, etc.Anonymous
So ALL of the district’s teachers children from age 3 years old up 8th grade are being housed only at elementary campuses for “child care” as teachers work. How is this any different than starting in-person learning right away?!?! Other than the fact that they are all being test subjects!!Anonymous
As a substitute teacher and parent of a high school student, I am very happy the school year is starting with remote learning. The school needs to be safe for all - teachers, administrators, staff as well as students. Once the opening criteria is met, slow and cautious return to classrooms is needed.Anonymous
What are the notification procedures the schools will use to let teachers and students know they were exposed? The town hall meeting made it sound like there was not going to be any contact tracing, direct notifications or quarantining to exposed parties. Contact tracing and notification is necessary!!Anonymous
I am the parent of a teacher and a grandmother. The safety of our teachers and children should be top priority. Schools should not open until there is a vaccine to protect ALL. My daughter cannot go back to teaching because then she would have to put her own child in daycare: no guaranteed safety.Anonymous
Those of you who want to face to face instruction, I pose one question to you. Which one of your family members are you willing to sacrifice Grandma, Grandpa ... to COVID-19? You mention a 98% survival rate, while there is still a 2%, I’m not willing to give up any of my family members. YOU?Anonymous
Humans were never meant to live alone in a bubble, but there are times when we must live in a bubble. Science has proven that this virus is difficult to reign in at the moment. No one group is immune to it. Therefore the safest method is to keep kids and educators home until there is a clear path.Anonymous
My husband is an elementary teacher at NEISD. He has received his class list and has 25 students in his homeroom. He will be rotating classes and will see an additional 26 students in another class. This is 51 students within the day for face to face learning. How is this following guidelines?Anonymous
My wife is a nurse. I don’t care what others seem to think or feel about this virus. It is real. It is a threat and there is no way we are sending our sons back to school this fall. Our youngest is prone to respiratory infections as it is. The sad fact of it all? Texas has a record number of infections.Anonymous
True teaching requires that students have learned what is being presented. This is accomplished by several methods in the classroom. How will you be able to verify learning is actually taking place virtually?Anonymous
“Teaching remotely is NO easy feat” - I don’t know about that. My college professors seemed to be pretty chill about it as they kicked back on their back patio and recorded their lectures whenever was convenient for them. Pretty sure that model will be copied over to primary education.Anonymous
Ever since I have been working for the school district, the district made it a point that every student has to be up to date with their shots. Why is this virus getting an exception? If there is no vaccine there should be no in-person teaching or even anyone going to the campus to teach.Anonymous
I recently retired (paperwork completed November 2019 prior to Covid-19) after 25 years in education. I personally would’ve gone back into the classroom had I not. With that being said, all three of my grandkids will be returning to school on their first day. (Kinder, 8th, and 10th).Anonymous
People are comparing malls, bars and restaurants to classrooms. I don’t think you have the same number of bodies in a 30 by 30 classroom. Or hundreds of bodies walking closely through a 20-foot hallway.Jesse
I’m a parent of two NISD students and I have decided NOT to send them back for in-person learning. My take away from a zoom meeting with school administrators is that the students and teachers that are returning to in-person learning are pretty much guinea pigs. That is very sad.Anonymous
Remote learning is so hard for younger kids because they don’t have the necessary computer skills, like typing and navigating the web. We decided to do a homeschool curriculum instead. Last year my kids brought home influenza A & B, and eye infection. I feel they would definitely bring home COVID-19.Annie
The parochial schools that supposedly promote the sanctity of life, are instead, promoting death by ignoring the advice of the health department. They are having students on campus in August. Staying in business is valued more than life. What hypocrisy!Anonymous
It’s a small percentage (1-5%) that pass away with the virus. Take kids out of the equation, just look at teachers and support staff. How many staff does that make that will likely pass away? Now let’s say there is a margin of error, so cut that number in 1/2. Is that number of deaths ok? Science not fear.Anonymous
What are the schools going to do if, let’s say a teacher tests positive? Now they’re out, their students have to be self quarantined, all the other students that their students have come in contact with are quarantined. It’s hard enough to get subs, now who’ll watch the classes as the teacher stays out?Anonymous
It’s a mess. I’m a teacher in a local district opening this week and it is very clear we are not prepared to open. The district says all the right things publicly, while in reality, we are not ready. It is scary and most of us are very worried.Anonymous
Teachers should be allowed to teach remotely from home. There is no need to place them in harm’s way just to placate politicians. Certain they are not going to foot any medical or burial expenses for those succumbing to COVID-19. It is high time educators were valued not demeaned.Anonymous
Nope. There are parents already talking about how they want to send their kids to school without masks only a face shield. How does that mean that everyone else’s children can be safe even their child? There is always someone not wanting to work together.Anonymous
Is it possible that some students learning from home will learn more because their teacher won’t be spending time constantly dealing with behavioral interactions in the classroom? Teachers might face stress in other ways, but at least not related to discipline. Henceforth, more learning?Bea
I feel my children would learn more sitting in a classroom with a qualified teacher than sitting at home but I’ve seen what that virus can do. My husband spent a month in the hospital and I just lost my uncle. I don’t think we should put teachers/student’s family’s lives at risk for any reason.Benita
There are so many pros and cons with any of the decisions regarding returning students to school. However, it’s ridiculous to imagine my child at any school where he cannot learn safely in a small room where engagement and interacting with peers are what makes learning fun. Stay home!Anonymous
I’m a single mom of a 1st and 6th grader. The first 4 weeks are virtual and after they have the option to return or remain online. I requested from my employer to work from home since I have the capability and they said I need to use my vacation time because I won’t be working. I’ll be teaching.Anonymous
I am a Registered Nurse and have 2 children. My husband is immunocompromised. While some doctors say children aren’t vulnerable... they ARE. My children will be distance learning the entire school year. We will not risk the health of our children, ourselves or others.Anonymous
Southside ISD is providing child care services to employees of the district that are forced to work at the campuses and then throws a bone and says we can’t serve breakfast and lunch to out of district children. They are only being watched from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. That’s all.Anonymous
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Most San Antonio-area school districts have already resumed the academic year in person and others are starting online. Many Boerne ISD students returned for in-person learning last week, but the majority of Bexar County school districts will be starting the school year online.
The Texas Education Agency says it’s up to school boards to decide when their students can go back to in-person learning. With board approval, schools have the option of staying remote-only for up to eight weeks without funding implications. After that, a district would need a waiver from the TEA to avoid losing state funding tied to student attendance.
Many parents who have responded to the KSAT prompt have opted for the route of homeschooling instead of sending their children back to an in-classroom learning environment. The Texas Homeschool Coalition shared a list of commonly asked questions to help parents who have chosen to homeschool their students as opposed to allowing their children to return to campuses.