Fort Bend ISD parents petition for virtual learning option as first day approaches

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- In Fort Bend County, concerned parents are taking action as the U.S. enters its sixth straight week of steady increases in new COVID-19 cases across the U.S. For the first time since February, cases surpassed 100,000 over the weekend.

Parents with young students in Fort Bend County schools started a petition, asking that there be a virtual option for students in kindergarten through sixth grade for this upcoming school year.

Dr. Antony Fauci says COVID-19 levels are going to get worse before it gets better because not enough people are getting the vaccine.

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In Baton Rouge, doctors at one hospital say they're seeing twice as many children with COVID-19 than they did during the original surge of the virus.

At last check, the Change petition titled "Petition Fort Bend ISD to offer Virtual Learning Option for K-6" has over 900 signatures with a goal of reaching 1,000.

The parents' concerns are expected to be brought up at a school board meeting scheduled for Wednesday. This is all happening as students prepare to head back to school next week.

Some parents are concerned their kids may be at risk for catching COVID-19 at school since everyone under 12 years old is too young to be vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are asking students and teachers to mask up inside classrooms, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott will not mandate anyone to wear a mask at school.

The district has mapped how it plans to keep students safe on its website.

Social distancing of three feet will be implemented along with strict sanitizing, as well as improvements to the air filtration systems inside buildings.

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RSV, a respiratory illness typically seen in younger children, is on the rise during a typically unseasonable time. Couple that with the spike in COVID cases, and the dual medical issues are proving taxing for medical centers.

A study done by UTHealth found that about two out of three school-aged kids do not have antibodies for COVID-19. They tested blood samples to figure this out. Doctors say parents should keep this in mind as their children go back to school, urging masks be worn as a layer of protection.

"You've got two of these serious risks going on. One, the vaccine is not available to our younger children and two, over 60% that still haven't been exposed to the virus. That leaves a majority of our Texas pediatric population vulnerable," Dr. Sarah Messiah with UTHealth said.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George will be holding a press conference to talk about the COVID-19 risk level in the county today at noon.

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