TEMPLE, Texas — Temple Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott announced Tuesday there would be no remote learning in the 2021-2022 school year.
Ott said the district would develop and revise the current health and safety protocols that are consistent with local authority guidance.
“Our data shows that students who were enrolled in on-campus learning out-performed their remote learning peers across the board," Ott said. "At this point, more than 80% of students in Temple ISD have returned to in-person learning and our health and safety protocols have demonstrated effective results in minimizing the spread of the virus. Temple ISD has not closed a single campus this year due to reaching the 2% threshold as advised by the Bell County Health District.”
Ott said Local Health Authority Dr. Janice Smith believes Temple ISD was a model school district when it comes to developing and implementing health and safety protocols for minimizing the spread of the virus.
“I have no reservations about their return to full in-person learning knowing the district will work with us on developing and revising safety protocols next year,” Smith said.
Joshua Wucher of Waco ISD said no decision has been made by the district at this time.
"We certainly hope that most, if not all, students will return to in-person learning this fall. We believe that students do best when they’re in person, but final decisions about any remote instruction will need to take into account state requirements and guidance from local health experts," he said.
Midway ISD Director of Communications Traci Marlin said something similar as they make plans for the upcoming school year.
"We have not yet made a final decision about what virtual learning might look like next school year. We are working through various options, what each scenario would entail, and we expect to have plans in place in the next few weeks," she said.
Taina Maya with KISD said the district has released its plan for parents, offering in-person learning to every student. Virtual learning is dependent on eligibility and funding.
Belton ISD Director of Communications, Elizabeth Cox, said families will be given the option of virtual learning.
"Part of serving each and every student in Belton ISD includes providing educational choices for families. This includes studying and considering an option of virtual learning. Bills currently before the state legislature could address how Texas public schools might continue to offer a virtual learning option," she said. "We believe in multiple pathways of success and want to be prepared for whatever our students and families may need next year. While it does not meet the needs of all, some students have thrived in our virtual learning environment. Belton ISD is prepared to stretch our thinking and innovative practices to create the best possible learning experiences for students. We look forward to engaging with families in the coming week to explore how virtual learning might best meet their needs during the 2021-2022 school year.“
Ott said TISD and Bell County Public Health will be monitoring the situation and make revisions to those protocols as needed to adapt to any significant changes in the course of the pandemic.
"We are not going to work outside the health department, so parents can have confidence in that," Ott said. "If parents were willing to trust us during the apex of the pandemic, I think they could certainly trust us as vaccinations are rolling.
"Remote learning was always considered a crisis response and never a permanent educational solution," Ott said.