HOUSTON — When the school bell rings once again, who will show up and who will stay at home to learn?
It’s a huge question facing parents, whether to send their children back to the school or opt for online-only instruction.
“I’m strongly for them going back to school,” said parent Ralph Morales.
Morales has two children, Connor and Camryn, who attend Katy ISD schools. He said he’s 100 percent sure of his decision, despite the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases.
“You can’t be afraid. You can’t be scared to step out and enjoy your life and make the best of it,” Morales said.
But not everyone is so sure. School districts across Houston surveyed parents about what they think. KHOU 11 Investigates obtained results from three districts, which collectively had nearly 72,000 parents respond.
In Katy ISD, less than half of parents, 49 percent, said they were “comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” returning their children to school. In Conroe ISD, 75 percent of parents surveyed said they prefer a traditional in-person school week. At Clear Creek ISD, 58 percent of parents said they would likely return their children to school, provided that buildings are sanitized thoroughly each night.
“We’d love for it to be, uh, 100 percent, but we also recognize at this stage, with numbers continuing to escalate, that they need options,” said Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith.
Smith said that has been the challenge — how to juggle both types of parent wishes while keeping a level education playing field.
The superintendent said he’s tried to be brutally honest with moms and dads.
“We’re not able to deliver everything to parents. We can’t take everything that we’re doing inside the brick and mortar and put that online,” Smith said.
He added being at school in person, with a teacher in the classroom, is by far much more effective and yields greater results.
The surveys from the three districts were conducted several weeks ago, before the recent surge in positive coronavirus cases. KHOU 11 Investigates requested and is waiting on complete survey results from 17 other Houston-area school districts.