DALLAS - A Texas Education Agency report breaks down how fall learning is going for both in-person and virtual instruction.
Superintendents from across the state hope to learn from each other as they navigate a year like no other.
The TEA commissioner said that as of Friday, 1.1 million students are back on campus statewide.
Of those, 4,500 have tested positive for COVID-19.
Commissioner Mike Morath was joined by the superintendents of three North Texas school districts Friday, and each talked about their successes and challenges thus far.
Morath shared details about the state agency's response to the coronavirus at a Dallas Regional Chamber event, highlighting efforts to reach the 30% of Texas public school students who do not have tools for online learning.
“Collectively we've spent close to $1 billion between March and today bridging the connectivity gap,” he said.
Morath was joined by the superintendents from Dallas, Plano, and Richardson ISDs.
Dallas ISD started virtual learning on September 8.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said enrollment is down 7% from last year, an improvement from the 9% decline he reported to FOX 4 on Wednesday.
“The biggest disappointment so far is we're missing 11,000 students and 4,000 of them are pre-K,” Hinojosa said.
Richardson ISD staggered its in-person start dates, and 53% of parents opted for in-person learning.
Elementary and junior high kids are already back on campus, while high schoolers return on Monday.
“The word we used throughout the day is this is just so calm. It really was calm. I think it's because we had six months to plan,” Richardson ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone said.
Plano ISD started in-person learning a week ago.
The superintendent there said the biggest challenge has been for students and staff to get accustomed to the new normal.
“We've had to test our ability to remain flexible in order to remain responsive to the students, the staff, and our families,” Sara Bonser explained.
Commissioner Morath said the state is ready to help.
“We deployed $50 million in PPE, mask, face shields, 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer,” he said.
The state suspended the STAAR test this past school year due to the pandemic.
So all three North Texas superintendents said they're in the process of assessing all returning students to see where they are academically.
Those test results will help guide the curriculum this school year.