Northside ISD urges virtual learning for students due to COVID-19 surge

Superintendent Brian Woods sent letter to parents, posted video message on social media

SAN ANTONIO – The superintendent of Northside Independent School District is urging parents to consider virtual learning for their kids through the end of the month because of the surge in COVID-19 cases in San Antonio.

Superintendent Brian Woods sent a letter to parents and also posted a video message on social media explaining his request.

Woods said they’re not closing schools or going to mandatory virtual learning because the state requires them to offer daily in-person instruction and ties funding to that mandate.

“If your child is currently attending school in-person, I ask that you consider switching them to virtual learning for the next two weeks, from Jan. 19 after the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday until Jan. 29, the end of the month. Hopefully, this will help us to get past the surge in cases we are now seeing in our city,” Woods said in his letter.

The superintendent said he recognized that virtual-only learning is not feasible for every family and said that he believes most students are better served by in-person learning, but that district leaders “want to do our part to avoid broader closures of schools or other important institutions.”

Woods also said that any parent who opted to go virtual now would not be giving up an in-person slot for the rest of the school year.

District staff will continue to work in buildings and will offer support in-person as well as virtual instruction through the end of the school year.

Students who need a device to facilitate virtual learning will be able to get one from their child’s school.

As of last week, NISD reported 190 active COVID-19 cases among campus staff and 346 active cases among the district’s students, according to the district.

During Tuesday night’s regular COVID-19 briefing by city and county leaders, it was reported that the 7-day moving average of new daily cases is 1,791, the highest for Bexar County since the beginning of the pandemic.

Also Tuesday, state health officials reported that Texas had surpassed 14,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients for the first time during the pandemic.

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