Hundreds of Hays CISD students seek to switch learning platforms as first on-campus week comes to a close


HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — As the Hays Consolidated Independent School District wraps up its first week back on campus, a spokesperson says hundreds of families are trying to switch between online and in-person learning.

The school district started welcoming back all students who wanted to be on campus starting Monday.

Spokesperson Tim Savoy says the requests to switch started coming days before that. 145 families who opted for in-person learning are now requesting to go back online.

“I was kind of struggling with English, so I decided to go in-person, so I can get the extra help that I needed,” Brianna Sandoval, a Hays High School senior, said.

Sandoval considered a switch after starting school in-person Monday.

Brianna Sandoval, a senior at Hays High School, says even though on-campus learning isn’t what she expected, she is sticking with the platform, for now. (Photo: Jennifer Packer)

“It was really weird,” she said.

That’s not how she expected her first day back on campus to go.

But between the one-way hallways, spaced out lunchrooms and continued online-based learning, she reconsidered her decision.

“She sent me a message that day, and she’s like, ‘Mom, can you just put me back in online,'” said Sandoval’s mom, Jennifer Packer.

It goes both ways—the school district has already gotten at least 500 requests from students who were slated to be virtual and now want to switch to campus.

“I think some of it is that, you know, they thought the virtual learning would work out that maybe the job situation didn’t, and so they don’t maybe have someone at home to take care of the child like they thought they would. Or maybe their child isn’t responding, as well as they thought,” said Savoy.

He says the school district is getting about a dozen reversal requests a day.

He says even though families are technically committed to their choice for the first nine weeks of school, they are trying to accommodate requests on a case-by-case basis.

“Really it comes down to a student-by-student situation where, do we have room at that campus? Do we have room at any campus at that grade level?” Savoy explained.

An architect has already calculated capacity for each classroom, and Savoy says if there’s room in a student’s grade for him or her to come back to campus, the school district is allowing it.

If their grade level is at capacity on the student’s home campus, they are allowed to move to a different campus that may have room.

Savoy says no grade level is currently filled across all campuses, but if that happens, the family would then need to wait until the next grading period to try to come back to in-person learning.

For now, Sandoval is sticking it out for her senior year.

“Maybe she’ll get used to it, I don’t know,” Packer said.

Austin ISD will start phased-in learning on campus on Monday.

Parents there also had to fill out a survey, choosing how their child would learn after that.

However, the school district is also allowing students to change those decisions at any time and promising that shift will happen within five days.

Officials say middle and high school students will get online work and face-to-face instruction.

High schoolers will be on a hybrid schedule, alternating between on-campus and at-home instruction during the week.

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