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Nederland ISD families prepare for 1st day of school in class & at home

NEDERLAND — The Nederland Independent School District is beginning the school year Tuesday, and parents are preparing their students for either virtual or in-person options.

Natasha Gamblin, a mom of six, is sending her students for in-person instruction and is ready to get back to the classroom.

“I am a teacher at Sam Houston Elementary in Port Arthur,” she said. “I am currently teaching virtually. It is a struggle. I really feel the kids just need to be back in school. I can’t wait for mine to be back. Two of mine are seniors this year and they can’t wait to get started.”

As a teacher and parent, Gamblin sees both sides of the coin.

“I am happy that I can send mine to school,” she said. “Just after one week of teaching my students virtual, the parents are already wanting to change their students from virtual to in-person. It is really hard to keep my students’ attention and come up with lessons that we can teach this way.

“As far as my kids are concerned, we attend church regularly. We have been on vacation. They have been to help people after the storm and been to visit their grandparents’ houses. Not one sign of sickness. I believe they will be just fine.”

Robin Mosqueda is in a similar situation with five children, but she will be tackling virtual instruction from home.

“We made our house into a makeshift school house, so we are ready,” she said. ”Teaching different grade levels, eighth, fifth, fourth and third, at the same time, was a challenge when it wasn’t regular curriculum. I can imagine how difficult it will be now. I know it was our choice to keep them home though, and I will take on the responsibility with a smile.”

Nederland ISD student Jason Cook gives a thumb up to starting school in person.

Lauren Cook was one parent on the cusp, but ultimately chose in-person classes for her son starting kindergarten.

“He needs the structure, and I feel like the schools are doing the best they can to make things as safe and sanitary as they can,” she said. “This was not an easy decision, but it’s what’s best for our family right now.”

Other families are choosing to start virtually for the first six weeks before choosing an option for the remainder of the year.

Penny Mullin is waiting the first six weeks before starting her 4-year-old son in person.

“My son would definitely benefit from in-person instruction since has an IEP and needs accommodations, but I would like to see the coronavirus cases be lower than they are now,” she said. “I’d also like to see if there will be an outbreak once schools starts or not. My 4-year-old also struggles with wearing a mask for long periods of time, so I’m not sure he even could make it through half the day.”

NISD students will start school Sept. 8.

Aubrey, Allie and Austin BiJeaux are ready to return to school next week as Bulldogs.