AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Education Agency is requiring Austin ISD to change its on-campus learning model. Starting November 2nd, students will switch from classroom to classroom as opposed to just staying in one room for most of the day.
The principal of McCallum High School wrote in a message to parents and students that, in two weeks, more students will be allowed to return to on-campus learning with an instruction model that has students go from classroom to classroom while the teachers stay in one place. The principal including parents should “think pre-COVID high school.”
The message goes on to say that “We will take the necessary precautions we can to keep everyone safe. Though we will try our hardest, we will not be able to guarantee social distancing. The use of face masks will be required for in-person attendance.”
“We finally had some sort of footing and then these plans are up in the air of what November 2nd is going to be like,” said middle school French teacher Nathan Baladez-Doom
Baladez-Doom says he’s concerned for his health as a teacher, but it's the kids he’s worried about. “A lot of people are taking it out of context and saying, like, oh, the teachers are just being selfish, and they're just thinking about themselves, and it's really not the case. All of us, our number one concern is for the kiddos. We love our students,” he said.
Parent Holly Davis says this new model could help students excel in class. If done safely, she says face-to-face learning is what kids need right now.
“If the adults stay put, the teachers stay put, and stay, you know, six feet apart from the students they're instructing, I think that that is a better way to do it to get the children back to normal. For instructional learning, I think it's very important. I think we're seeing that the data does not support children just being ‘Zoom in a room’,” said Davis.
Masks will continue to be a requirement once this new model is implemented.
Middle school science teacher Bianca San Miguel admits she’s not sold on this new model. She says she hopes the district is taking this step because AISD is ready and not because the TEA is making it a requirement.
“Just because a guideline is pushed down your throat, just because a policy told you that you need to enforce this policy does not make it the right thing to do. History has proven that people that say ‘I was just doing my job’ don't get looked favorably upon, and they need to remember that because we're the ones that taught that,” said San Miguel.
FOX 7 Austin reached out to Austin ISD for comment several times and did not get any response back.
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