Although Longview ISD is ending one type of remote learning, Superintendent James Wilcox says he doesn’t anticipate all students returning to classrooms this school year.
The district announced Tuesday that it no longer will offer asynchronous virtual instruction for grades three through 12 but will keep its synchronous model. Students in those grades will either have to continue remote learning synchronously or return to their campus.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas districts have the option to allow remote learning for parents who do not want to send their children to campus. With the synchronous model, students and teachers are engaged at the same time. In the asynchronous model, students and teachers do not have to be online at the same time. Parents who wish to keep the asynchronous model for their students because of extenuating circumstances can contact their campus principal, according to the district.
“We have to provide the best learning environment we can, and we believe that’s in the classroom, but we have a number of students that have personal high-risk occurrences to their physical health and even more that have an individual that’s a caregiver in the home,” Wilcox told the Longview ISD board Monday. “It’s tough … We want every student in a classroom with one of our great teachers. That’s probably not going to happen — this year for sure.”
At a meeting Oct. 5, trustees received a report that remote learners were failing at higher rates that in-person students.
Hallsville, Tyler, Gilmer and New Diana ISDs all have suspended both types of remote learning as a result of concerns over participation and grades.
Longview ISD board President Ginia Northcutt said Monday that trustees would not consider suspending all remote learning unless Wilcox asked them to.
She said the board and the district’s charter partners would work together on the decision.
Northcutt also said the district is working hard to correct issues related to remote learning that were raised Monday by a parent.
Pam Allen addressed the board and said her children at Foster Middle School and Longview High School are having issues as virtual learners.
“The students are sitting there endlessly refreshing their screens trying to get into online classes, and they become bored or frustrated after 10 to 20 minutes of not being able to get into the class,” she told trustees. “Right now, we have an online class that has not had a livestream since Sept. 29. It’s one of the core subjects, not an elective. The teacher responded to one of the emails last week and stated that livestream would start Monday ... It didn’t happen, and there has been no communication from the teacher.”
Allen also said her children have missed due dates because assignments were not posted in the classwork section of online platforms.
“Classwork should be assigned before the class begins, not after the class concludes. This past Friday, Oct. 9, we had a teacher post three assignments, one with a due date of Oct. 1 and two with a due date of Oct. 7,” she said. “Would a teacher walk into a classroom and pass out classwork and tell the students it was due two days ago or eight days ago? No. The online learners should also be afforded that same respect.”
She went on to say there have been issues with substitute teachers not having a Google Classroom account as well as audio difficulties and issues with the camera now showing what is happening in class.
After Allen addressed the board, Place 6 Trustee Ava Welge said she wanted to keep Allen’s remarks so the board could look into the concerns.