MELISSA - Melissa ISD announced Tuesday that it will offer parents the option of enrolling their children in an in-person school setting or a virtual one for the upcoming school year.


Parents and guardians are asked to complete the online fall 2020 Return to School Parent Survey before 2 p.m. July 5 stating their preference.


District officials say that in-person school will include face-to-face instruction with added safety precautions.


They also said that virtual school will be an improved version of the spring 2020 remote learning environment that took shape after campuses were closed in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Returning student registration begins on Aug. 3. New students can enroll at any time at melissaisd.org/enroll.


District officials say they will continue to monitor conversations on the local and state levels while awaiting additional guidance from both the Texas Education Agency and Gov. Greg Abbott.


More detailed information about both in-person and virtual schooling will be provided once plans for both are finalized.


The district recently released a more detailed survey asking families to share feedback on their remote learning experience. In less than two days, it had heard from more than 830 households.


According to Executive Director of Elementary Education Walter Perez, there has been a general consensus that students need and crave the at-school experience, including interactions with one another and their teachers.


"With that said, we must be committed to developing a robust virtual learning platform that will meet the needs of a remote instruction setting in light of our current circumstances," he said. "We heard and agree with many of your recommendations, which align with our district's goal of continual improvement."


He added that as the state releases its guidelines for public schools, the district may reach out to families again for additional feedback.


Perez said that those who would like their voices to be heard at the state level are encouraged to email Commissioner of Education Mike Morath at commissioner@tea.texas.gov.


Last week, Gov. Abbott announced his intention to have students return to public schools this fall.


Districts will not be required to mandate masks or require COVID-19 testing. However, the governor did promise to provide flexibility for families with health concerns.


Over the past week, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Texas have surged to new highs.


Classes in Melissa are set to resume Aug. 25.