40,000 Katy ISD students chose to stay home and learn virtually for the fall, district said

On Friday morning Fort Bend County Judge KP George held a virtual back-to-school question and answer session with Katy ISD Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Gregorski to address concerns parents still have ahead of reopening.

In the virtual discussion, George said he's confident in Katy ISD's reopening plan. Katy ISD covers three counties, including Fort Bend.

Parents sent in questions to George and at the end of the Facebook live session he expressed confidence in the school district's plan when it welcomes children back to in-person learning on Sept. 8.

"If I had my child going to Katy ISD, I wouldn't be having any hesitation to send my child to in-person instruction," George said during the Facebook live.

Katy ISD will start school on Aug. 19. Students will start online learning first, then in-person instruction will begin on Sept. 8. Parents can choose between in-person learning and Katy Virtual School.

Those who choose virtual instruction must submit a KVA commitment form by midnight, Friday Aug. 7. If a parent does not fill out the form, then their children will have to return to school in-person.

Parents who pick the option for in-person instruction do not have to complete a commitment form.

About 40,000 students have already elected the virtual instruction option for Katy ISD's first grading period, which is about 40 percent of the district's student population. Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Gregorski said children can learn virtually for a grading period, or the entire school year if the parents choose to do so.

"What I ask families to do is make sure those kids that are returning for in-person instruction, that those parents talk to their kids to please do what they ask them to do," Dr. Gregorski said. "Nobody has time to fool around with a kid at school who doesn't want to follow the rules, who doesn't want to do the social distancing, that doesn't want to wear a mask. Those are things we've come to expect at this point and we really need kids to do it when they come back. Take it seriously and then things will probably be generally pretty good, but at the same time there's no guarantee."

Starting on Monday, Houston ISD is launching a parent virtual learning course to teach parents how to help their kids with online learning.

Families Empowered is also helping guide parents as they weigh the back-to-school options.

They have a hotline that parents can call and a representative will answer at 713-589-8767.

"We spoke with some of our 90,000 families throughout Texas, and we learned that 60% of parents still haven't made a final decision about where they'll enroll their kids for the coming school year," Ayla Dehghanpoor told ABC13. "Interest in homeschooling has doubled in recent weeks and it's certainly a great option for lots of families."

Spring ISD is also distributing Chromebooks to students in need of devices for virtual learning. The distribution is happening in phases from Aug. 6 to Aug. 14.

School districts that will be starting school next week, includes Conroe, Crosby, Goose Creek CISD, Humble, Montgomery, New Caney, and Santa Fe.

For more information on Houston area school districts' plans to reopen, click here.

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