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PNGISD focuses on summer course remote instruction – “We’re trying to give everybody a break”

Summer classes in the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District will only be for high school students who want to complete their credits for graduation, Superintendent Mike Gonzales said.

The question now is whether classes will be held in person.

“We are currently working on a plan for our summer courses,” Gonzales said, adding he hopes to reveal within the next two days how the courses will be conducted.

In-person classes in the PNGISD have not been held since March 6, the last day before spring break, and online classes were held as a precaution against coronavirus.

Gonzales was definitive Wednesday in saying that summer school for elementary and middle school students “will be nonexistent.”

“We’re trying to give everybody a break,” Gonzales said.

In a news release, the Texas State Teachers Association writes that June 1 is too early to reopen school buildings for summer classes and demands “the state and local school districts agree to enforce a detailed list of safety requirements for school campuses before reopening building to students and school employees.”

That announcement came after the Texas Education Agency issued guidance for districts choosing to offer summer classes starting that date.

“School systems should take their local context into account when deciding whether to offer summer school on campus by monitoring the situation on the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard,” the TEA writes.

The dashboard is a website (tinyurl.com/wgmgues) that tracks statistics of coronavirus cases in the state.

If Gonzales’ hopes come true, Port Neches-Groves High School summer session students won’t have to report to campus.

“We’re hoping to run the same plan we’ve been running with our students, the same online learning, extended classes, kind of similar to what we’ve been doing the past few weeks,” he said.

The plan for PNGISD, Gonzales said, is to begin the 2020-21 school year in classrooms Aug. 19 as scheduled.

“We’re doing everything we can to resume a normal setting,” Gonzales said. “It’ll be what we call a new norm. There’ll be new things we have to take in consideration.”

For now, Gonzales said the district administration is focusing on giving PNG High seniors a graduation to remember. Graduation exercises are scheduled for June 11 at Indian Stadium at a time to be announced, but it will be during the evening, the superintendent said.

Members of PNG’s 2020 senior class will be remembered for facing more adversity than a pandemic has thrown at them.

“We’ve been through enough here at PNG,” he added. “The last thing we want to do is throw something more difficult for our kids to adjust to. A lot of people are trying to adjust to the COVID pandemic. This entire school year has been difficult for us. We dealt with a cyberattack, the TPC explosions and now the pandemic. We’re doing the best we can to catch our breath.”