Arlington ISD concerned about failing students during virtual learning

Arlington ISD says it saw more students failing at least one subject during virtual learning compared to the first six weeks last school year.

The district met Thursday about what the future looks like as COVID-19 cases rise.

Meanwhile, Dallas ISD, the largest district in North Texas, says there are no plans to revert back to virtual.

North Texas is seeing alarming rates relating to students failing classes during virtual learning, but parents have many options to weigh.

A band lesson isn’t the same when it’s done virtually, but Dallas ISD 8th grader Jackson Kern is giving it his best shot.

Still, Jackson’s mother, Courtney Mathews, feels he’s old enough to comprehend the details of virtual learning. For now, it’s an acceptable option.

“For the older students, I think it just got rolling and they just jumped back in,” Mathews said.

Jackson’s sister, Charlotte, is learning in-person. Their mother doesn’t believe virtual learning will provide much benefit for a pre-K student.

Mathews started a Facebook group for parent support for DISD virtual learning. It now has nearly 1,500 members.

Dallas ISD held a board meeting Thursday. COVID-19-related conversations were not on the agenda, but staff issued a statement earlier in the day saying: “Dallas ISD is staying the course, offering the options of virtual and on-campus instruction.”

Dallas ISD is currently reporting 405 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff.

Arlington ISD also held a board meeting Thursday. During the meeting, it was revealed 38% of elementary students were failing at least one subject in the first six weeks of the year while there was virtual learning. About half of junior high and high school students were failing at least one subject.

It’s a large jump from this time last year.

“Getting the kids up to passing has got to be our most important goal at this moment,” said Arlington ISD Trustee Polly Walton.

For now, Arlington ISD has the option for in-person or virtual learning with more than half in the classroom.

Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos discussed what may happen if there’s an uncontrolled outbreak at a school.

“If we are in a situation in a school for example where we cannot contact trace and it is too widespread then, that’s a situation where we would close the school until we could until we could figure that out,” he explained.

Mathews knows virtual isn’t ideal, but she understands so many factors weigh the decisions of families.