Survey: Parents favor in-school classes this fall

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A survey by the Sealy Independent School District shows that more than half of parents with children in the district favor having their children attending classes in person this fall.

At the time of the survey’s release on June 25, families were asked which option they would choose for their students; in-person for all students, remote for all students or a combination of in-person and remote. Hallmark said that at that time, about 56% of responses chose all in-person learning, about 21% said they would explore the remote learning options and nearly 23% chose the combination.

According to Sealy ISD Superintendent Bryan Hallmark, 674 families responded to the 15-question survey and he said the results were a big help to the team of district leaders that has been tasked with creating the comprehensive plan that will be presented at the July 22 meeting of the district’s board of trustees.

“The main thing for us with the survey was to get a pulse on how the community feels about returning to school in August and it gives them an opportunity to share some of their concerns and hopes and fears with us,” Hallmark said. “I think we captured that pretty well but what one of the challenges for us as a district is to figure out how many families are really going to do the face-to-face, on-campus learning and how many families are going to take advantage of the remote learning, because we have to allocate staff appropriately.”

Despite liking the response rate from the nearly 2,800 students in the district, Hallmark admitted one of his biggest concerns with the survey was that COVID-19 cases were on a more-downward trend at the end of June compared to the beginning of July but looked forward to the next survey’s results.

“After they’ve had a few days to digest (the plan) we’ll follow up with another survey and get their feedback on our plan, as well as get some more feedback of what they’re currently thinking is right for their students,” he said. “What the state’s done is they said that the parents will have up until two weeks from the first day of instruction to designate whether they want their kids to do the remote learning option or the face-to-face learning.”

Hallmark expected a grace period to allow families to switch their choice from one to the other but reiterated that staff will have to be properly allocated to suffice the students’ needs.

“It’ll be a challenge, but we’ll figure it out and we’ve got some great people,” Hallmark said. “We’re collaborating with state, we’re collaborating with all the districts in Region 6 and then with some other colleagues across the state. Everybody’s in the same boat, but we’re gonna figure out a way to give our kids a great experience and move forward.”

Although there still may be more questions than answers, Hallmark is sure of one thing.

“For us, there’s no doubt: We believe that the best place for students to learn is in the classroom with their teacher,” Hallmark said. “We’re just trying to figure out how we can do that as safe as possible.”

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