NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — New Braunfels ISD is moving forward with in-person instruction as an option for students when school starts next month.
With no current restrictions from Comal County in place, district leaders have been debating how to proceed. On Tuesday night, trustees voted on whether to have the district start remote-only for the first three weeks, or offer the option of in-person or remote learning to parents.
Superintendent Randy Moczygemba recommended virtual-only instruction due to the current coronavirus situation in Comal County, where there has been more than 2,100 cases and 52 deaths from virus-related complications. He pointed out the majority of cases are within New Braunfels city limits.
Each of the seven trustees explained their perspective before advising district administration of their decision.
David Heefner and Matthew Sargent voted to have remote-only for the first three weeks.
“As a district, we have a responsibility as an employer to take care of the employees,” Sargent said. “The employees had their own survey and it was a split decision. I have a hard time if we sent 70% of the kids to school. We can't only send 50% of the employees to school to teach those kids. Those teachers may not be able to make that decision whether they have to go or not.”
The other five trustees voted to offer a choice, thereby letting parents decide what was best for their children.
“I think that's a very personal decision that each family has to make,” Trustee Eric Bergquist said. “I just have a real hard time making a decision for the entire school districts when this is really an individual choice at the parent level."
A district spokesperson stated that, out of 7,400 surveys, 66% of parents opted for in-person instruction.
“It's unfortunate to me that this is a decision for public school districts across the nation where basically you're going to anger and upset 50% of the people that you serve, regardless of your decision,” said Board President Sherry Harrison.
With the 5-2 decision made, NBISD is moving forward with preparations for the start of school on August 24th both at campus facilities and online.
Enrollment begins next week.
Parents will be able to make their final decision up to two weeks before school starts. That choice will remain in place for the first nine weeks, and can be changed for the second grading period.
The superintendent will answer any questions parents may have via an online town hall Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. Parents should have received a meeting login via email. Participants needing additional help logging on can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A recording of the meeting will be posted on the district’s website Thursday.