Fort Worth ISD answers questions about the school year during virtual town hall meeting

As uncertainty remains for parents and teachers planning to return to a fall school schedule, the Fort Worth Independent School District is hoping to clear up confusion and ease minds.

There are looming concerns for schools across the country as the new academic year approaches. Fort Worth ISD is providing a space for those questions to be asked head-on.

Monday’s town hall was in Spanish. Tuesday’s town hall will be in English.

The superintendent provided details about the length of the virtual school day. He also talked about which teachers will be allowed to work from home.   

With 35,000 questions and comments submitted to Fort Worth ISD ahead of Monday's virtual town hall meeting geared towards Spanish-speaking parents, Superintendent Kent Scribner, Board President Jacinto Ramos, Jr. and several trustees spent two hours trying to answer them.

“I think it's vital for us as a board and superintendent to listen to our community,” Ramos said.

Questions about the length of the online school day were top of the list. Fort Worth ISD parents shared their concerns.

“I think it's critical to get the accurate information as soon as they have it,” said parent Claudia Palacios.

“A little bit more communication or training or resources for parents,” said parent Irene San Juan.

Dr. Scribner did not detail how a student's daily schedule will be laid out, but he says pre-k to fifth grade will be required to take a minimum of three hours of online instruction per day. Older students will have a minimum of four hours of virtual learning.

Bianca Rojas has three students in the district.

“The online learning, how are we going to manage the schooling the assignments between three of them?” she asked.

Dr. Scribner says teachers will hold virtual office hours for students who need additional or personalized help. The superintendent said principals returned to their schools on Monday to prepare for virtual learning.

Beginning Aug. 10, teachers will be given additional training on virtual instruction. Dr. Scribner says most teachers will have the option to teach from home. New and first-year teachers are the exception.

The district says an extra 10,000 internet hot spots will be available to students soon after it was approved last week by the school board.

“We are completely focused knowing and understanding that those gaps are going to widen, and we need to best we can not to allow those to get any bigger than they already are,” Ramos said.

The superintendent says transportation logistics are still being worked out.

Students who rely on free lunch will be able to pick up their meals twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays.

The English-language virtual town hall will be held Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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