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Anna ISD scraps at-home learning

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
All Anna ISD students will be required to return to class on November 3.

On the recommendation of administrators, the Anna ISD Board of Trustees voted Oct. 15 to eliminate at-home learning and require all students to return to class on November 3.

According to Superintendent Michael Comeaux, it was not a decision that the district took lightly. He cited low positivity rates for COVID-19 as one of the deciding factors.

“Data from Texas Education Agency indicates that since the beginning of face-to-face

instruction this school year, a total of 0.4 percent of Texas students have tested positive for COVID,” Comeaux said in a memo to school district families.  “A total of 0.8 percent of Texas school employees have tested positive for COVID.”

During the first nine weeks of instruction, approximately 26 percent of students chose the online learning option. According to district officials, academic performance and attendance data indicate that the majority of them were underperforming compared to students attending classes in person. Based on this data, officials concluded that online learning was unsustainable for long-term academic success.

Those who are considered “medically fragile” and unable to return to face-to-face instruction are required to contact their campus principal by Oct. 26. This category includes students who have serious ongoing illnesses or chronic conditions that have lasted or are anticipated to last at least 12 months and/or have required at least one month of hospitalization.

Also falling into the “medically fragile” category are students who have ongoing daily

treatments that require help from trained people, as well as students who require the routine use of a medical device or the use of assistive technology to compensate for the loss of usefulness of a body function needed to participate in activities of daily living.  Students who live with ongoing threats to their continual well-being are also considered “medically fragile.”

For families who do not wish to return to in-person instruction, their options include

withdrawing from Anna ISD and homeschooling, enrolling in a district with open enrollment or enrolling in an online school.  Students who do not return to in-person instruction by Nov. 3 and have not withdrawn from the district will be considered absent. 

District officials advise that all enrolled students are subject to Texas compulsory attendance laws.

“We look forward to seeing all of our students back on campus on Tuesday, November 3,” Comeaux said. “We are committed to keeping our students and staff safe, keeping them in school, and allowing them to participate in the activities they love. We thank you for your continued cooperation and support.”