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VAISD to end remote instruction

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader

Van Alstyne ISD Superintendent David Brown announced Oct. 20 that district would be ending its remote learning program at the end of the month. Starting Nov. 2, only students who are ill or in quarantine due to COVID-19 will be offered remote instruction. 

David Brown

The decision was based on both the academic performance of virtual learners and the low rate of local COVID-19 cases.

As of mid-October, the failure rate for students enrolled in remote instruction was 63 percent compared to 7 percent of students attending class in person.  According to Brown, this is proof that remote learning is ineffective and inappropriate for the majority of the district’s students. He says that the primary issue with remote instruction is the lack of engagement from a majority of virtual learners. District officials and he believe that in order to limit the learning gaps that are being created, kids need to be on campus for instruction.

“Public safety and health are a high priority for the district,” Brown said. “However, we feel that these COVID numbers, coupled with the learning gaps being created, do not justify continuing to offer remote instruction.”

At the start of the year, 12 percent of VAISD students had chosen the virtual learning option. Since then that number has dwindled to 8 percent. These students will now have to choose between returning to on-campus instruction, withdrawing to homeschool or transferring to another public or private school that offers online instruction.

District officials are asking families to make their decisions as soon as possible since the second 9-week grading period began on Oct. 19. Parents are also advised to contact their school as soon as possible to either discuss a return date or to arrange a time to withdraw their children from the district. 

“We always are concerned about the well-being and safety of our students,” Brown said. “We made our decision based on our local data at the school as well as the City of Van Alstyne.”