Midlothian ISD Fall Resumes On August 20 Virtually

Midlothian ISD School Board photo
Photo courtesy of Midlothian ISD

Midlothian ISD Online Only August 20- September 8, 2020

With less than 30 days until the first day of school Midlothian ISD school board held a workshop tonight to discuss and vote on how and when to reopen schools. Last Monday Superintendent Dr. Lane Ledbetter said that no matter what the trustees decided, not everyone would be happy with the decision. Tonight’s vote was 6-1 voting for the administration’s task force recommendation to begin school virtually on August 20th including UIL extracurriculars. Trustee Vineyard was the lone vote against the decision.

A lingering concern for many parents and teachers: can Midlothian’s bandwidth handle the demand by the district’s students and teachers? If spring was an example of some of the challenges students will face when it comes to being able to stay online during peak times, fall may bring more struggles.

Face to Face Learning Returns September 8th

When the buildings do reopen one thing is for sure, students, teachers and staff will need to adjust to the new safety measures. So, when face to face instruction resumes on September 8th, it will be in small groups through the 11th. All students opting for in person instruction will return on September 14, 2020.

New measures include: one way hallways, staggered start and end times, masks worn by students K-12, staff and teachers, etc. Administration is working with each campus on implementing the safety protocols, and principals will finalize campus back-to-school academic and operational plans. The information from each campus will be sent to parents during the week of Aug. 3, 2020. The protocols were developed using the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control, Texas Education Agency and Ellis County health officials.

A No Win Decision

On Monday night Midlothian residents took to social media to express their emotions, ranging from frustration and anger to concern and confusion. Some parents expressed concern over the “crappy internet’ available in the area, while others questioned how their kids would be comfortable wearing a mask for 8 hours. Others argued that if 70% of parents responding to the survey wanted their kids to return to the classroom, why would the board vote differently?

As Jessica Cano pointed out, “Schools will not be starting in a normal environment. For instance, at the high school level they are still trying to figure out the logistics of following TEA protocols and allowing the kids to be in a classroom environment. There’s a lot more to it than people think. Then, they have to get the kids adjusted to this new environment and that takes time as well. Teachers and staff need this time for preparation on top of teaching their classes. I see a lot of people bringing up the survey results. Keep in mind, some of us who answered that we would like our kids to be face to face did not have the option to select “face-to-face if it’s safe”. A lot of us are still undecided without knowing what the environment will be like. So those survey results are not entirely accurate.”

Another parent, Jessica Terry asked,”How is an elementary age child expected to log in and virtually attend class with a teacher they have never met AND when a parent is expected to be present at their place of employment? Doesn’t seem like this will work for many parents that work full-time. And is the 6 hours still required per day. That amount of screen time isn’t even recommended by American Pediatric Associations or American Academy of Pediatrics.

I am grateful we have delayed F2F but this places burdens in many other areas for many parents and students. And there are still too many questions left unanswered.”

Chelsie Sanders commented, “Thank you for the careful consideration and the time and effort that went into difficult decisions with students AND staff in mind. #misdproud”

While others on social media have promised to “vote out” the school board, because they don’t feel like their voices are being heard. There were even some rumblings of organizing a protest against the decision.