"We did give parents the option to fill out two exemption forms if they felt more comfortable still learning at home. That was our extenuating circumstance or medical exemption," said Andrew Fernandez, executive director of communications for San Marcos CISD.
If your child did not have one of these exemptions, then they must return to campus in person. The district said feedback has been positive and many students are excited to get back to class.
"Their school building looks a little different and they are super excited to see their new flexible spaces, their new libraries, and just see their old friends, see new faces," said Fernandez.
Many factors including mental health wellness went into the decision. "Throughout remote learning we had four students pass away. We know that our school buildings are not only just a school campus but they are a resource to our families for food, air conditioning, heating, and also we provide great mental health resources," said Fernandez.
Around 800 of the 1200 district employees have been fully vaccinated. Fernandez said all COVID-19 safety protocols such as masking, and physical distancing will be enforced. But the decision is being met with some skepticism by the Texas American Federation of Teachers.
"If I were a parent the first question I’d be asking is how are you going to accomplish that if you bring 100 percent of students back. The classrooms aren't just going to grow more space overnight," said Zeph Capo, president of Texas AFT, in regards to physical distancing.
Capo said he understands the importance of returning to campus, but he wouldn't let his own kids go back just yet.
"If you’re a family that has gotten your schedule down, you've gotten to the point where virtual is working, is that going to be the best thing for you considering we only have six weeks left?" said Capo. "We don't know what TEA is going to offer as far as virtual learning next year, so this is a great opportunity to prepare for August."
Capo also said the schools do have an interest in getting kids back to campuses due to state funding as well.