DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas - In a late night decision, the Dripping Springs School Board decided to move forward with its plan to provide an option for students to return to campus in September.
The decision came after parents in Dripping Springs ISD petitioned the district to start offering on-site learning.
The district began its school year last Tuesday with virtual learning set for the first four weeks.
"I supported the first four weeks virtual, many of us were not happy with the fact that there wasn't any further communication on what plans for reopening was and we got quite concerned that there was no plan when neighboring districts were well on their way," said Melinda Alison, who has two children enrolled at DSISD schools.
Alison says virtual learning has been a huge challenge for parents.
"I know families who all have varying circumstances I have close friends who are both parents who work who had to go to work last Tuesday and leave their children at home, their children are old enough but leave their children to execute this online learning on their own, and we've had some hiccups and bumps," Alison said. "We started an online community in the past few days to see who was in support of us at least having the choice of going back to school on site."
She helped start a petition to gain more than 1000 signatures in less than 12 hours in favor of the district reopening onsite learning on September 14th. On Monday evening there was a rally ahead of the DSISD board meeting.
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"I know parents who do have special needs kids and I myself have a student who has special accommodations in place and we're not getting that support, and those parents and we would love our kids to be in school to thrive," Alison said. "I know parents who are single parents working having to choose between their careers. Even for me today I was pulled in 17 different directions. Zoom was out today, kids were really struggling."
At Monday night's board meeting during the 'public forum' portion, board members read comments and the majority of the concerns expressed cons of remote learning, citing frustration and stress.
Some said they're thankful for remote learning and thanked the teachers for their patience and grace.
School board president Carrie Fontana Kroll read a comment from a parent of two elementary school boys, which said: "E-learning is double the work, it's hard for them to concentrate, we as a couple aren't able to do our jobs."
The latest instructional plans for Dripping Springs ISD available on their website are a draft posted in late July which did not contain a start date for on-campus learning. According to the return to school page, safety procedures will be implemented for on-campus learning, including the wearing of facial coverings, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, social distancing, and hand sanitizer.
Protocols also will be put in place for arrival/dismissal, meals, transitions, recess and special classes at the elementary level, events, and transportation.