Education News

Fort Bend ISD is closing its virtual learning program as COVID-19 cases dwindle across the district

The program will close on December 17 — the final day of the fall semester.

Second grade students work in the technology lab at Sherman Elementary School in this file photo.

Fort Bend ISD will be ending its virtual learning program, which was established for children most at risk for COVID-19, after a majority of parents said they were ready for their children to return to school in person.

The program will close on December 17 — the final day of the fall semester.

According to Sherry Williams, the district’s director of communications, 77% of virtual learning families responded to a survey and indicated that they were ready for their child to return to school in person.

She added that district officials “reviewed the results of the survey and the current status of COVID Active Cases in Fort Bend ISD,” which displayed 62 active cases as of Thursday afternoon — 50 students and 12 district employees. Since Aug 11, the district has seen 5,504 positive COVID-19 cases, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

In comparison, Houston ISD — which had reported 92 active cases on Thursday — plans to expand its virtual learning academy ahead of upcoming school year. The district partners with Texas Connections Academy Houston, an approved HISD campus charter, to offer free public virtual school for grades 3-12, according to the academy's website.

Zubin Balsara, a parent at Fort Bend ISD, said he had already planned to send his child back to school next semester, but added that he was unsure how other parents would react to the news given the recent emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Not sure if everyone is happy with this decision,” Balsara said. “Especially with a new variant suddenly popping up.”

Additional reporting by Lucio Vasquez.

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