NISD parents surveyed favor 51.1% distance learning and 46.1% in-person learning for upcoming school year

Parents of most Natalia ISD students indicated their children would attend classes via distance learning during the 2020-2021 school year.

A survey provided to parents that outlined three different ways school could resume – normal in-person instruction, distance learning, or a hybrid approach – was answered by 284 respondents representing 533 NISD students, over half of those enrolled in the district.

51.1 percent of parents who responded to the survey said their children would be enrolled in distance learning, while 46.1 percent said they planned to send their children to school for in-person instruction. About three percent of respondents said their children would not be enrolled in the district next year.

“It’s not from every student but it gives us a pulse,” Superintendent Dr. Lana Collavo said during the NISD School Board meeting on Monday, July 13.

Parent meetings to discuss the school calendar and possible modes of instruction will be held on Thursday, July 23 via Zoom. English-language meetings will be held at 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm, while Spanish-language meetings will be held at 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm.

Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Lori Robinson, Athletic Director Ilyan Martinez, campus principals Carmen Maglievaz, Dr. Edgar Camacho, and Dr. Andrea Moreno-Hewitt, and Collavo will be present for the parent meetings.

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“We will have the chat open so people can input questions that we’ll answer as we can,” Collavo said. “And if we can’t get them all answered then, then we will add them to our Q-and-A that we put on the website.”

According to guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), districts must offer in-person instruction five days a week in order to offer remote learning.

Collavo said that parents must commit to in-person or distance learning for their child no later than 10 days before the beginning of the school year, which is set to begin on August 24, and students won’t be allowed to change their manner of instruction on a weekly basis.

“It’ll be in nine-week increments,” Collavo said. “After nine weeks, if remote is just not for you, then you can come back into the system. But to manage grading and what have you, it won’t just be in and out…it will be a choice for a grading period at a time.”

Exceptions can be made for students who fall ill or must quarantine due to COVID-19.

Robinson emphasized that while the survey results represent most of the district’s students, no plans are set in stone.

“We’re continuing to make plans and thinking about the things that could happen if we have an overwhelming majority that return, or if we have fewer,” Robinson said. “So as you can imagine, it’s a continuously moving target.”

By Marly Davis

Staff Writer