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Northside ISD Wants To Know Families' Preferences For In-Person Or Remote Learning

McAndrew Elementary is one of NISD's 79 elementary schools. The districts also includes 20 middle schools, 17 high schools and four special schools.

This post has been updated. It was originally published on Aug. 7 at 6:52 p.m.

The Northside Independent School District is one of many in Bexar County heeding the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District's guidance to wait until after Labor Day to reopen campuses for in-person learning. 

NISD will follow San Antonio Metro Health’s recommendation to delay a return to in-person learning until Bexar County is no longer in the high-risk red zone for COVID-19.

“While we won’t have any in-person learning until at least Labor Day weekend, we know that that could be extended. Or, if the public health situation improves, we could start to very slowly bring some students back as early as that Tuesday after Labor Day,” Northside ISD Superintendent Brian Woods said Monday on “The Source.”

NISD will begin virtual classes Aug. 24, then transition to in-person learning after Labor Day, while still giving families the option to continue online. Families have until Sunday, Aug. 16, to let the district know their preference for in-person or virtual instruction this fall, amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns. The district extended its initial Aug. 10 deadline to give more time for families to respond.

Superintendent Woods said NISD has been planning since April to make sure virtual learning is more rigorous and engaging this fall. He said more virtual learning will also take place in real-time, often called synchronous learning.

“The ways we see it, is a student checking in regularly and having direct instruction from the teacher, which requires synchronous capabilities. And then going and working on their own as they would in a normal classroom setting,” he said.

Woods said about 7% of NISD’s 106,000 students weren’t engaged in learning while campuses were closed in the spring, but the district is working on a plan to bring those students back, including knocking on doors if needed.

Will students learning online get the same quality of education as those who attend physically? How will the district measure the success of each instructional program?

What safety protocols will be in place to protect students, teachers and staff on campuses? What would trigger a shutdown?

Are special considerations are being given for special-needs students and those without the necessary tools for remote learning?

Are you a parent or family member of an NISD student? What are your biggest concerns for the fall semester? Have you decided yet whether your student will learn online or in person?

Guest: Brian Woods, Ph.D., superintendent for NISD

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, August 10.

TPR's education reporter Camille Phillips contributed to report.

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Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.