Troubleshooting: How Wimberley ISD reaches students with online connection challenges

Hays

The school district is still offering packet pickups, using safety measures

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Students in Austin, Round Rock and Leander ISD officially started their online schooling on Monday. All districts have to find a way to still offer families with technology challenges the option of picking up their assignments.

In Wimberley, the school district is doing it in two-week intervals. Families can drop off their last assignment packet while picking up lessons for the next two weeks.

For those who choose the paper option, that means getting homework via a drive-thru.

“We’ve had some that have come and parked in the parking lot to try to use the wireless signal. So, that’s kind of a challenge for sure so that’s why the paper packets are also available,” says Wimberley ISD spokesperson Allen Bruggman.

The district says only a handful of staff members are at each school to handle distribution of paperwork that’s been disinfected.

Each assignment turned in is also disinfected in a room for three days.

“Stored in a location to make sure that there’s nothing that’s living in there, and then the teachers are allowed to come pick it up and go through the grading process,” Bruggman says.

Danforth Junior High’s principal and staff members take a break from distributing packets. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

“Teachers that have special circumstances (compromised immune system, caring for elderly, etc.) have been encouraged to speak with their principal and identify ways they can continue to fulfill their work duties while remaining safe,” he says.

Some families, like the Bruners, say they prefer to pick up packets for some subjects, like math, to then turn in online.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation and I think they’re doing the best that they can as well we’re doing the best that we can; there’s no way to replace the in-school atmosphere,” says Troy Bruner, who has one high schooler and two middle schoolers in the district.

“They’re out of a routine, you know, and all the kids need that. They need structure more than we can give them sometimes, it seems like,” Bruner says.

Although creating a new schedule has been a challenge for Troy and his wife Lori, they also see a bright side.

“All three of our kids are constantly in every sport year-round, so this is actually easy. We’ve just got to wake them up by noon and make them do their homework online,” Bruner laughs.

Wimberley ISD says teachers are also available to students throughout the school day – online and by phone.

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