As it turns out, the Brownsville Independent School District can just about accommodate the number of parents who requested online distance learning for their students.
While many welcomed the return to in-person classroom instruction this year, the Texas Legislature also recognized that some students thrive in an online setting and others aren’t yet ready to return to traditional classes with the COVID-19 pandemic still present.
On Sept. 1, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 15 into law, which allows school districts to offer virtual learning to 10% of the district’s enrollment but exclude students who failed their STAAR exams.
BISD set detailed criteria intended to limit the option to students who had been successful with online learning during the 2020-2021 school year and limited enrollment in the program to 3,600 students.
As of last week, BISD’s enrollment was 37,713 and as of the Sept. 15 deadline, BISD had received 3,703 applications for online learning, almost exactly the 10% limit set by the Texas Education Agency, district officials said Thursday.
However, because BISD was leaving leeway for students receiving instruction through remote conferencing because they tested positive for COVID, the district held a lottery to determine which students from among the 3,703 who applied for virtual learning under SB 15 were accepted into the program. As of late Thursday, 1,667 students had been accepted.
Parents were being notified Thursday whether their child or children were accepted for virtual learning. The online instruction starts Monday. A mandatory virtual meeting for parents will be held on Wednesday.