By Robbie Owens

DUNCANVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – One way or another, students are back in class, but COVID-19 has changed everything.

Not everyone is plugged in to the online instruction.

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Educators know the learning loss is real.

“It’s what keeps me up at night,” said Duncanville ISD Superintendent Dr. Marc Smith. “It really is. Right now, we have about 55% of our students who are virtual. So they are at home learning and there are many challenges associated with that.”

Superintendent Smith says the district’s pass/failure rates are ten percentage points higher post COVID-19 and the students struggling the most, are those learning online.

“Is it technology? Is it lack of connection? Is it they don’t have a support system at home because their parents are working so no one is there to really help them have the discipline to sit at a computer all day and interact with their teacher,” wonders Smith.

So on Saturday, Jan. 23, Duncanville district staffers and community stakeholders plan to mask up, show up, and knock on doors to help find answers.

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It’s called, “Operation Connection.”

“They are not missing in action, so to speak,” explains Smith. “But they are not engaged with the virtual platform and consistently turning in classwork and so we need to find out what is the problem and how we can help and assist them.”

Duncanville has a student population of roughly 12,000. In many places it would be considered a victory if only 100 were the subject of concern, but Smith insists, “We are going after the 100.”

All of the staffers and volunteers will follow the same CDC protocols in place at the schools. Parents have been contacted beforehand in order to consent to the visits.

“All of our students matter,” explains Smith. “In Duncanville, our motto is `we write success stories one student at a time’, so we are going after the one. If it were just one student, we would be doing Operation Connection tomorrow.”

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