Fort Worth ISD approves virtual learning option for K-6th grade students

As parents again focus on masks, Fort Worth ISD is considering whether to bring back a virtual option for kids who are too young to get vaccinated.

A virtual learning option is now available for FWISD K-6th grade students who have medical conditions or concerns.

Still, many parents sounded off on an issue that wasn’t up for a vote during Tuesday’s board meeting.

As of last Friday, 300 students have tested positive. That number is now up to at least 422. 

Nearly 1,800 are listed on the district’s dashboard as "close contacts to someone on campus." 

Around 900 quarantined were listed as close contacts or positive cases last week. 

One teacher pleaded for the board to take action.

"If you’re more concerned with yourself, I have a proposition for you: let’s switch places," the teacher said. "I’ll go up there. I’ll put it on the agenda. I’ll vote for a mask requirement and a virtual option, and I’ll go to jail. In the meantime, you can go to my classroom and teach 26 high schoolers with no mask requirement in place."

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Some parents are concerned that masks are optional inside Fort Worth ISD schools. Others believe a mandate is emotionally unsettling for kids.

"Your children, yes, may get COVID. It is contagious but they're not gonna die, okay. What's going to kill your children is mental health that we see 24/7," a parent argued.

A mask mandate issued by Superintendent Kent Scribner before classes started was rescinded when a small group of parents sued the district over his order.

One board member said he has added a mask order to the agenda for a special meeting called for Thursday.

Some parents say they want the superintendent gone. They’re also concerned about learning loss.

"So the pandemic actually just increased the issues and increased the problems. Lots of learning loss has occurred," said parent Missie Carra.

Some at public comment couldn’t even speak without being talked over by others in the crowd. 

Fort Worth teachers will not be the ones teaching virtually. Those teachers will come from an outside third-party vendor.

Registration for the district's online instruction program starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

Those classes are set to begin on Sept. 13.