PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — In just three weeks, the Pflugerville Independent School District will welcome back more than 20,000 students.
The first three weeks will be fully online, but parents have until July 30 to decide whether to send their kids to school or stick to the fully online model after that.
“I believe in serving the students. I have my other opinions on whether we need to be staying in distance learning for longer,” said Pflugerville Teacher Franchesca Mejia. ”It’s unsafe to send your kid back at this time. As a teacher and a part of an association, we need more than eight weeks.”
Mejia is an orchestra teacher for Pflugerville, and the Pflugerville Education Association Vice President. Come early September, Mejia fully expects students back in her classroom, but it’s not a decision she supports. She had hoped the district would take the TEA’s 8-week fully online allowance.
“We are going to be going through extreme measures to keep your child safe, which is debatable that we can actually do that,” said Mejia.
With registration open, some parents have already decided on what they plan on doing.
“When you get to the life factor of it, at this point…Whatever has to be done. It’s just doesn’t feel safe to me. We will be doing learning from home,” said Pflugerville parent Felicia Castillo.
While others wrestle with the decision, Pflugerville teachers want them to know school likely won’t have the same atmosphere students are use to.
“They’ll be wearing masks. They won’t be able to do the quirky things kids do. If we have all these strict guidelines, those teachers are going to be policing,” Mejia said.
Pflugerville teacher Jason O’Quinn suspects the classroom teaching style will look different also.
“The teacher or whatever staff may be more like a supervisor. Essentially, the same thing they would be doing at home through virtually learning. Students may be spaced out in the room 6 feet apart, and on their devices,” O’Quinn said.
PfISD says the decision parents make will remain in effect until the end of the 9 weeks. If parents do decide to send their child to school, then there’s no guarantee they will have the same teacher as they did in online learning the 9 weeks prior.
“They don’t want to overload teachers,” Mejia said. “They don’t want to have them doing in-person while simultaneously doing distance learning.”
The Pflugerville district sent teachers a survey asking if they’d need the option to teach remotely.
They were told priority would go to teachers 65 years and older or those who are immune-compromised.
KXAN heard something similar from Austin ISD Wednesday morning. There will be some staff members who have the option to not return to their campus, but not all.