The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District will require remote-learning students who are struggling or failing to return to campus after Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath cleared the way for Texas school districts to do so.
“Initially, we could only discontinue remote learning by a whole grade level or campus,” said Dr. Rachel Jones, BCISD assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “Now, if a student has continually demonstrated they are in danger of failing, whether that’s because they have less than a 70 (grade), or having excessive absences, we can require them to come back to class.”
Currently, about 372 of the district’s 3,097 students are taking part in remote, or asynchronous, learning. Of those, Jones said about 150 fit the requirement of returning to in-person learning.
“It’s a very small percentage of our entire student population,” she pointed out.
The district has already reached out to struggling students and their families to ask them to return to campuses.
“This isn’t going to make a big splash or be big news across the community,” Jones said. “Our campuses have already been in contact several times with the students who are struggling in remote learning and have been inviting them back to campus.
“The students who are in remote learning and doing fine, we’re not going to ask them to come back,” she added. “We just want the students who are struggling to come back.”
Under the eduction commissioner’s new guidance, districts must give the students and parents or guardians a two-week notice prior to ending the affected child’s remote learning. During this time, Jones said, the parents can file an appeal to the district.
If there is a medical reason the student needs to remain in asynchronous learning, parents can fill out a full-time remote medical certification, with a physician’s signature, and return it.
Jones said the decision to require a struggling student back to campus is about creating opportunities for them to be academically successful.
“If they’re failing or struggling, it could mean they are held back, and that’s not something we want,” she added. “We want to help set them up for success, and that may mean coming back to class for a few of the remote learners.”