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Port Neches-Groves working out school year details; promise in-person instruction

PORT NECHES — Port Neches-Groves Independent School District is the last public school district in the Mid- and South County region to release plans for the 2020-21 school calendar.

Superintendent Mike Gonzales said the delay is linked to the district’s desire to wait until plans are finalized before sharing with the public.

“Districts across the state are still meeting with the commissioner of education through weekly Zoom calls,” Gonzales said. “Many things have been discussed, and it’s important to have all the information before finalizing a plan.”

Gonzales said he is hoping to be back in school on Aug. 19.

The district calendar committee and school board approved a school calendar in March.

“The districts across the state are preparing for possible disruptions in traditional learning and teaching methods,” Gonzales said. “Our distance learning protocols were tested in the spring of 2020, and we have fine-tuned those methods in case they are needed.”

Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier confirmed that PNGISD would be providing in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year.

“We are unable to provide the quality of instruction that is expected in our district through a virtual format,” she said. “Getting back to in-person instruction is fundamental to our students’ development and well-being.”

Details of what those instructions would look like are under discussion.

Gonzales said he is expecting the state to place some requirements on schools, limiting normal or traditional school routines.

“Nevertheless, we understand our school year will be different for students, parents, educators and our community,” he said. “We understand the difficult challenges that awaits us and are hoping that our entire community will be patient with the district.”

The district’s finalized plans will be released sometime this month.

“Our plan is to try and have a normal school year under these circumstances, and we understand some adjustments may be required,” Gonzales said.

“We believe our students need to come back to a traditional school setting. Our parents need us to provide students with a traditional school setting, and we need to help restore hope within our community by cautiously preparing a traditional learning environment and routine for our citizens.

“I’m praying our community will find the hope and peace it needs to strengthen our resolve as we move forward.”

A Port Neches-Groves School Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 13 at the West Groves Educational Center in Groves.