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Districts have options to require in-person classes for students failing in remote learning

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath has created an option in which a school district can require a student to attend in-person classes if they are struggling academically.

The option was added Nov. 5, according to information from the Texas Education Agency.

But this doesn’t automatically mean a student who is struggling would be forced into the classroom.

Local districts

PAISD Superintendent Mark Porterie said the district understands the procedures that are outlined by the Texas Education Agency.

“This is obviously something we would look at on a case-by-case basis, and it would have to be where the parent and the school were on the same page with the student’s educational needs to go forward,” Porterie said.

Nederland ISD Superintendent Stuart Kieschnick said the district does have some students who are struggling with remote learning and in order for students to be successful in remote learning it takes two things: discipline and parent buy-in and not just for the short term.

Consequently, if either of the two aspects is missing, remote learning may not be successful, he said.

Kieschnick said the topic would be discussed at the next principals meeting, then discussed with staff.

“As far as making it a mandate, NISD is not going to commit to that,” Kieschnick said.

No one could have foreseen the challenges school districts are facing as they go forward, he said, adding the public knows more about COVID-19 now and how it impacts children and adults.

Texas Education Agency

Attendance and enrollment information for the 2020-2021 school year per the TEA shows a public school district can require an individual student to go to campus if the student is receiving remote instruction and struggling academically, with attendance, or in any other way.

But there are certain steps for this action should a district chose to go that route.

  • The local education agency (LEA) must submit an attestation to the TEA.
  • An LEA can identify students to be discontinued for remote instruction if one or both of the following are true in any class: Student has a class average of 70 or below (or the equivalent) or student has three or more unexcused absences in a grading period.

Districts have the option to decide on criteria to include one or both of the above or make thresholds more lenient. Either way, the criteria must be consistent for all students in a particular grade.

  • LEAs must notify parents at least two weeks prior to requiring the student come on campus.
  • Parents may agree to change their child’s learning environment to on-campus or may appeal.