Aldine ISD parents fear large class sizes amid pandemic: 'That's a death sentence'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Most schools in the Houston-area have returned to class either virtually or in a hybrid form, but a few districts are still waiting to go back to in-person instruction.

Some teachers, however, have raised concerns and tell ABC13 they're worried about the number of students they've been assigned.

An Aldine ISD middle school teacher, who wished to not be identified, spoke with Eyewitness News about her concerns.

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She said when she looked at her roster for an Oct. 5 start date, it showed she would have 24 students, which is above the 12-14 students per classroom the district claims it will have.

Not only is she worried about her own health, she said she's concerned about the children who may have health issues, such as asthma. She worried they may go home and potentially transmit COVID-19 to their loved ones.

No matter how hard the middle school teacher tried to do it, she said it's impossible to follow CDC guidelines and properly space out her students.

"Let me see how I can arrange my desks, and there was just no way," she said. "I was looking at the desks, [and the students] are going to be bunched up together. I can't even spread them apart."

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Evette Henderson, an Aldine ISD parent who has a daughter in the 8th grade, agrees and said the size of the class may pose a problem.

"That's like sending my daughter on death row," said Henderson. "That's a death sentence. The district needs to listen to the teachers, because the teachers are in the classroom."

Eyewitness News contacted Aldine ISD and received the following statement.

"As students begin to return to Aldine ISD for in-person instruction, safety will be of paramount importance due to the COVID-19 pandemic for both students and staff. Aldine ISD requires that all employees and students wear face coverings, follow social distancing guidelines and complete frequent hand washing. Teachers can be assured that desks in their classrooms will be spread out so that social distancing guidelines are in place. Although the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has not yet set guidelines for the number of students that can be in a classroom, Aldine ISD staffs classes based on teacher to student ratios. Aldine strives to accommodate students and staff as best it can during this time. Parents who opted for their children to remain learning virtually for the entire school year can opt for in-person learning once the first nine weeks of school is completed. Students can also remain learning virtually for the remainder of the school year. Again, safety and security will be of paramount importance in Aldine ISD as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic."

Meanwhile, parents of middle school-aged students have until Oct. 5 to choose to keep their children in online instruction.

This means the teacher's roster may not reflect the final count.

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