Fort Bend ISD announces plans for upcoming school year as TEA provides guidance

FORT BEND, Texas (KTRK) -- Fort Bend ISD announced its contingency plans for the upcoming school year as the Texas Education Agency prepares to release its guidance for school districts statewide that are challenged with social distancing and COVID-19.

For now, FBISD's current plan is to keep Pre-K through 6th grade students in the classroom for five days a week, while students in 7th through 12th grades split time learning in the classroom and at home -- an option Superintendent Charles Dupre said he plans to give all students if they're not ready to return to class.

While the plans are still tentative, the district said they do plan on starting classes back in August.

"So based on guidance from TEA, and of course the CDC and other health entities, it may be necessary to reduce the number of students we can have on the bus at one time or we may have to reduce the number of students that we can have in a classroom," Dupre said. "We've learned that if you can only have a small number of students on the bus, it takes a lot longer to get the kids to and from school or parents are going to have to drive them in."

The district is also facing financial challenges.

"So we do expect from the state level there will be some budget constraints in the coming years, but for the next school year we feel like we're going to be balanced, but at the same time, as these plans really come together, we are concerned that there could be some additional stress on the budget with the additional teachers and the resources that could be needed," Dupre said.

The district's main focus for now is maintaining flexibility to keep students and staff safe.

"We put what we call a conceptual framework in place for next year, but in the next week or so, we're going to hear details from TEA and the commissioner of education about their specific guidance about what the school year should look like," Dupre said. "Once we have that, then we can build out and complete our planning and when we do that, then we'll know what the logistics would look like with staffing and all of those other details that we're going to need."

As the district continues to plan the return to school, they say they have been seeking feedback from parents, who have major concerns about childcare. The district says they are doing what they can do to help but they cannot guarantee that school is going to be a full day.

On Thursday, the district is planning a virtual town hall at 7 p.m. Parents can watch on ABC13.com.

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