COMAL COUNTY, Texas — Schools in Comal County are six weeks into the academic year.
The two area districts have had students learning on-campus and online since day-one.
Soon, families will have the option to change their child’s learning style.
So far, this school year has been different. Everyone wears masks on campus, markers encourage social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer stations are featured throughout school grounds.
Teachers are juggling having students in the classroom and online.
Six weeks in, Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD leaders are sharing an update.
“We've had a lot lots of ups and downs, which we knew we would,” said NBISD Superintendent Randy Moczygemba during a Facebook Live hosted by the City of New Braunfels. “Our students, our parents and our staff have been very resilient in the process.”
Right now, both districts have about 60% of students learning on campus and 40% logging on from home.
For the next 9-week grading period, most students have the option to change their learning style.
The districts expect in-person attendance to rise.
For NBISD students who are failing three core classes, or with low attendance, attending in-person will be required.
“Simply because we feel like those students need the extra help one-on-one, face to face,” said Moczygemba.
Comal ISD is taking a different approach for remote-learning students who are struggling.
“We are seeking them out by visiting them at home, calling them, providing additional tutorial if necessary,” said Comal ISD Superintendent Andrew Kim. “In some cases because they don't have the right Internet at home or their Wi-Fi situation is low. We’re then lending them a hot spot unit. We're finding there's different things as we go to really mitigate some of those things.”
The education leaders agree, the next nine weeks will bring new challenges but the district’s staff, students and parents have proven they can adapt.
“While we do have challenges and frustrations, on the other side of this, we will become stronger in terms of how we operate,” said Kim.
Both districts say restrictive guidelines can cause headaches.
NBISD believes one CDC rule has put some students and teachers in quarantine unnecessarily.
The superintendents are also hoping STAAR testing requirements will be relaxed this year, but they do expect some form of exams could take place.