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News about education issues in and around San Antonio. Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Education News Fund, including H-E-B, Art and Sandy Nicholson, The Flohr Family Foundation, Holly and Alston Beinhorn, Valero Energy Foundation, 2Tarts Bakery in New Braunfels, Andeavor, and IDEA Public Schools. Other contributors include Shari Albright, Holt Cat and Dee Howard Foundation.

Emblem of North East ISD
File Photo | Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

Updated at 6:51 p.m. with funding guidance from TEA — With a legal requirement to pass a budget by the end of June, San Antonio area school districts have begun approving budgets for the 2020-2021 school year without knowing answers to key questions with major financial implications.

San Antonio ISD school bus.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio / Texas Public Radio

The San Antonio Independent School District board of trustees approved a modified academic calendar for the upcoming school year Monday evening.

SAISD officials said the changes will give the district flexibility during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Student backpacks hanging on hooks in a classroom at Northside ISD's Mireles Elementary in  January 2019.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

With much still unknown about what the coronavirus outbreak will look like in the coming months, the Northside Independent School District has developed a flexible framework to reopen its more than 100 campuses this fall.

Despite wanting to bring as many students as possible back into the classroom, a survey of parents and staff during the first week of June made it clear to Northside administrators that some form of online learning will need to remain in place.

Lanier High School Class of 2020 file into Alamo Stadium June 15 for their graduation ceremony.
Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 have been turned on their heads due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but several San Antonio school districts have managed to host in-person ceremonies this month.

Safely reopening the nation's public schools will be an expensive and Herculean task without additional help from the federal government. And, until schools do reopen, the nation's most vulnerable children will continue to be hardest hit — losing consistent access to meals, valuable learning time, and vital social-emotional support. Those were just some of the takeaways Wednesday from a hearing of the U.S. Senate's education committee.

School supplies
Nick Amoscato | Flickr Creative Commons

San Antonio’s two largest school districts, Northside and North East, are offering expanded summer school offerings in July and August to help make up for disruptions caused by schools closing in the spring. Both school districts plan to hold in-person lessons at least part of the time.

From Texas Standard:

The Texas A&M University System will reopen for in-person classes in the fall. That includes classes at its flagship campus in College Station as well as 10 others across Texas. But the campus experience won't be the same as it was before the pandemic.

A science classroom at YWLA Primary during a meet-the-teacher event Aug. 9, 2019.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

The vast majority of Texas public school parents say their children’s schools did an excellent job transitioning to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, but they’re still worried their children are falling behind academically.

In an online poll conducted in April, 87% of the 1,200 parents surveyed said they were concerned their children would fall behind because their schools were closed. The survey released Monday by the nonprofit advocacy group Education Trust also found that 87% of parents believed their schools handled the coronavirus well.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Next fall, Texas A&M students may be assigned which days they're allowed to go to class and which days class they'll be asked to stay home and follow class along from their laptops. If there are 50 people in a math class, for example, half of them will be allowed to show up Tuesday while the other half views online. On Thursday, the students would swap places.

From Texas Standard:

While the effects of the pandemic have yet to be fully quantified, it's clear that communities of color have been among the hardest hit. At the same time, educational institutions are having to rethink the way they facilitate learning for their students.