A Bill That Could Have Funded Virtual Learning Died In The Texas Legislature. Now, School Districts Are Weighing Their Options.
The Round Rock Independent School announced Thursday that it expects students will return to in-person classes in the fall. But that announcement still left the district with a debate over whether to offer virtual learning.
The district won't be offering virtual learning next year, though it had hoped to make the virtual option available to students 12 years old and younger who are ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The funding to offer that option was expected from a bill — House Bill 1468 — that died in the final days of the Texas legislative session.
School board members discussed the issue at a meeting Thursday night as they looked at the cost — about $4,000 per student not taking in-person classes each semester.
Some board members said they felt unsure about the option, saying they are unclear how many families would opt for virtual learning. The most recent survey sent out to families about this issue went out in March.
Trustee Tiffanie Harrison pushed back.
"I understand that those students may be a smaller portion of our district, but if we believe all means all, that means students and families that are in tough positions around COVID, that are immunocompromised, that have children under the age of 12," she said.
The district is expected to send out a survey Monday to again gauge families' interest.
The Hays Consolidated Independent School District also said they would not be moving forward with plans for virtual learning next year, according to the Austin American-Statesman.