Alief ISD starts first day of school with virtual learning

ALIEF, Texas (KTRK) -- Today is a big day for students in Alief ISD.

Thursday morning, 45,000 students logged onto laptops for their first day of school. The entire district started the 2020-2021 school year virtually. No students returned to campus because of the pandemic.

"The first day of school is good so far," Diem Nguyen told us via Zoom.

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Nguyen is mom to two Alief ISD students: Anastasia Kallergis, 6, and Jayden Nguyen Wallace, 12.

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Alief ISD is the first district of many in the Houston area to embark on the virtual-only semester start.



Nguyen says her first grade daughter was excited when her alarm went off and was ready to start school virtually.

"She was like, 'Mommy, is my room tidy enough already?' I was like, 'It's good!' She made her bed, folded her blankets," Nguyen explained.

Anastasia wanted the perfect Zoom room background to meet her teachers on the first day of school. It's a sign of the times.

The children follow suggested schedules from their teachers, joining their classmates for group discussions online at certain times throughout the day.

The school posted a new video Wednesday, reminding parents of the basics of how to use their online portal to get schoolwork done.

"It's not as complicated as I thought it was going to be," Nguyen said.

Alief ISD Superintendent H. Chambers recognized there are a lot of questions about the upcoming school year. One of the biggest concerns from parents is how to juggle being a teacher while working full-time.

"It's about teaching students that you're going to have to monitor your own work, and you're going to have to monitor yourself and you have to manage your time," Chambers said.

Chambers said some parents are intimidated by the technology their child uses to attend school. For some families, there may be a language barrier.

These issues are just some of many, and Chambers is urging parents and students to communicate concerns with staff and teachers as much as possible.

Nguyen agreed.

"My advice would just be to put your trust in the teachers. And if you have any questions, ask all the questions," Nguyen said. "Remember, we're all learning as we go."

Despite the worries, Chambers does believe there are a few positives to this situation.

"This may be hard to accept right now, but I think one of the upsides to virtual learning is that we're teaching students the way in which the workforce of the future is probably going to be in a lot of situations," Chambers said. "If you want to look at future benefit, here's where you need to be."

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Press play to hear more from the superintendent on what the school did in response.



Alief ISD parents in need of meals can get curbside meal service for breakfast and lunch Monday - Friday between 5 p.m. and 7 pm.

The meal service is open only to enrolled Alief ISD students.

Meals for elementary and middle school students can be picked up from the child's campus.

High school, ALC and Crossroads students can get their meals at either Elsik or Taylor High School.

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