Wimberley parents unenroll students because of COVID-19 concerns, district could lose $300K in state funding

Coronavirus

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — A group of parents said they’re pulling their students out of the Wimberley Independent School District because they don’t like the way it’s handling COVID-19.

The number of students it has currently lost could cost the district at least $300,000 in state funding.

 “Lots of tears,” Jonelle Hedrick said.

They feel the district’s COVID-19 protocols aren’t good enough.

“It was inevitable that my 8th-grader was going to contract COVID and bring it home to his brothers,” Shannon Rigby said.

Parents said they weighed options but never wanted to have to make the decision to unenroll their students.

“I’m not sure I have the faith in the district to bring them back, even in the future,” Jessica Cain said.

All but one family has already pulled their kids from school. The other is on the verge of doing so.

“Just ask people to put on a mask, it’s quite simple,” Alexia Raven said.

Raven added that she and her husband moved to Wimberley because they love the community’s togetherness. She wants the district to take action considering all children, and those throughout Wimberley.

In a statement Wimberley ISD responded to concerns saying:

Soon, our COVID Task Force is teaming up with our board-appointed Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) to continue the review of protocols that are in place to combat the presence of COVID in WISD. This combined group, which includes local physicians, physician assistants, and registered nurses, will soon add a Response Levels protocol document to our existing Health & Safety Plan – to further outline and extend WISD’s current protocols moving forward in the school year.

A priority for Wimberley ISD is to support our families as they seek the best educational opportunities for their children. It’s for this reason that we proudly accept qualified transfer students into our district. We also understand there are various circumstances where families wish to leave for different educational opportunities. We are happy to work with these families if these circumstances change and they wish to rejoin the Texan family.

The group of parents KXAN spoke with said at least 34 parents have unenrolled their kids because of concerns.

“Part of what we’re trying to do by making clear that many of us are unenrolling is that the district is losing out on that funding,” Cain said.

School funding is based on daily attendance numbers. Though Wimberley ISD enrollment was up 142 students from the end of the 2020 school year, that number has since dropped to 96.

What’s not clear, is whether all those who left did so because of COVID concerns. Wimberley ISD also said some of those students were “no shows,” and never officially withdrew.

“We really need their help,” Hedrick said. “We need them to listen.”

A group of parents said they’re meeting with the district’s COVID-task force at 9 a.m. on Friday.

As of Thursday, there are 76 positive COVID-19 cases in the district.

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