Here's how school districts in Houston-area are dealing with virtual learning during COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- School districts across southeast Texas have distributed thousands of devices to help students learn online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC13 reached out to multiple districts across our region about their efforts during this time.

Humble ISD superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen said the district has given out more than 3,000 Chromebooks to help students with virtual learning. ABC13 witnessed families pulling up to Foster Elementary School and picking up the devices.

"This is an extraordinary moment in educational history. We've never been faced with a pandemic like this before," said Dr. Fagen. "We have really demonstrated, in my opinion, the commitment to our students."

Dr. Fagen said there are around 250 students in the district with no internet access at home. She reminded families every campus has WiFi.

Leaders at Pearland ISD said they've distributed 642 tablets and 317 hotspots to students to help them complete their coursework.

The Director of Educational Technology Dr. Laura Reeves said the district started working early to determine which families needed help.

"We wanted to be sure that all of our students, especially those that did not have access to the internet or access to a device, had something during this time," said Dr. Reeves. "We're identifying students every day. As a matter of fact, I've been fielding emails all morning to get these devices in the hands of our students."

Leaders at Aldine ISD said they are working to address the ongoing challenge from the pandemic.

They are in the process of acquiring more hotspots for students. They've already given out thousands of Chromebooks so students have access to devices.

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Todd Davis said he's working around the clock to meet the demands.

"We do serve a population of highly economically disadvantaged families. It is a challenge because many of our families do not have the devices or internet access that we would hope in order to easily access our online opportunities," said Dr. Davis. "We do have resources that we're hoping to provide to the families and bridge that gap."

Dr. Davis said they are providing instructional packets to certain families. They are also are exploring the possibility of direct mail for some students in Aldine ISD.

Leaders at Fort Bend ISD said they are also working to meet the demand.

District superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre said Fort Bend has given out more than 4,000 devices to students. He said they will do door-to-door delivery for students who are in need of learning tools.

"It's been rough. Digital learning has been rough. I'll say this though, it has been an outstanding experience. We have set up an online learning platform in three weeks," said Dr. Dupre. "We don't call this homeschooling, we call this crisis schooling."

Officials at Klein ISD told ABC13 they will provide any family with a device, if requested. They've already provided almost 3,000 devices.

HISD, which is the largest district in the state, launched an online learning program called H.O.M.E. The program provides instructions that you can access on a computer or smartphone. HISD also broadcasts HISD-TV, which includes recorded lessons. The program is broadcasted on Comcast: channel 18; U-Verse: channel 99; and streamed online.

ABC13 reached out to Katy ISD who released the following statement:

"Katy ISD's online learning has been going well. Our Katy ISD students, parents and staff continue to do an amazing job of working together to keep learners engaged in their assignments. Since Monday, March 23, learning has completely transitioned to an online format. Paper packets are not being distributed. As of today, the District has distributed over 12,000 devices to those in need and we have offered students and parents several options with regards to wifi access. Because the top priority of our Teaching and Learning staff, as well as our Technology staff, is to ensure all Katy ISD students are learning online, Katy ISD will have to decline an interview with someone in one of these departments."

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