Schools prepare for possibility of students not returning to classrooms this school year

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott suggested Sunday there is chance classrooms will remain empty for the rest of the school year.

It will depend on how the virus continues to progress across the state, said the governor during a news briefing in Austin.

This is why many school districts are already turning to the internet to continue their curriculum.

On Monday morning, students at IL Texas College Station will be going back to school, but they won't be stepping foot inside a classroom. Instead, they'll be logging on to a computer and learning online.

"We're a college prep school, and so we know that every minute matters. We know that every day counts and every minute that we lose of instruction is a minute that could potentially allow our students to not grow," said Dr. Heather McMahan, the principal at IL Texas College Station.

Over the past couple of weeks teachers and staff have been working on an online curriculum as time out of school has increased because of COVID-19.

Each student was given a Chromebook, they'll be using Zoom as their classroom, and teachers have created interactive lesson plans.

"A big part of that for me as a mom is they still get to interact with their friends, and they still get to see their teacher and have that bit of normalcy," said McMahan.

KBTX spoke with the superintendents of Bryan and College Station ISD last week and they both said their districts are also working to make the shift from classroom teaching to online education.

Both districts said teachers would continue to play a significant role in the work.

"Our children's greatest tool is their teacher and so we use technology as an asset to that learning but it's not in place of it, so it's been a lot of time behind the scenes thinking through logistics and planning and so that's what we've been working on," Christie Whitbeck, the superintendent at Bryan ISD.