FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Independent School District held a socially distanced and virtual school board meeting that lasted more than 10 hours and after all was said and done members voted to delay optional, in-person learning until October 16.
The meeting started Tuesday afternoon and the decision came down around 3:30 Wednesday morning. The vote was 5-4.
Prior to the vote, the deputy superintendent announced that according to parent surveys, 54% want in-person instruction, while 46% wanted virtual learning.
The meeting went well into the morning because more than 200 people weighed in on the original plan, which was to return to campus on October 5.
The back and forth at the meeting was filled with great emotion and passion as administrators and parents heard thoughts on both sides of the issue.
“I hear lots of talk about your choice as parents, but what about my choice as a teacher? For those of you who say that COVID isn’t going away you’re right, it won’t go away if we go to in-person school — instead COVID will explode,” a teacher identified as Oliva said during the meeting. “At this point I’ve come to realize that a lot of parents don’t care if I live or die… what a heartbreaking realization as an 11-year public servant.”
Mother Sabrina told the board, “My tears pale in comparison to the amount of tears my 8-year-old daughter has cried over missing her friends, being sad or embarrassed that her district-issued device fails her or tears of frustration due to the difficulty she faces.”
Students were initially scheduled to return to campus on October 5. The board agreed to the two-week extension after voting down a motion that would have delayed in-person learning by an additional four weeks.
While classes will presumably resume on campuses October 16, all families have the option to continue virtual learning.