GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – As soon as Garland ISD opened enrollment Thursday morning, August 19, for its new parent-led remote learning option, Kimi Gray signed up her daughter.
Six-year-old Charlotte has a genetic condition that puts her at increased risk, should she catch COVID-19.
“She’s the main concern because her immune system is just kind of wild,” said Kimi.
In its first three weeks, the district’s schools in Garland, Sachse, and Rowlett have seen the number of active cases of COVID-19 climb to more than 650 students, more than one out of every 100.
At Armstrong Elementary, where Charlotte goes to school, 32 students are currently infected.
The district announced Wednesday, August 18, in response to concerns about COVID-19 spread, it would offer the parent-led option to students in pre-K through sixth grade, who are still too young to be vaccinated.
“In essence you’ll have complete autonomy over how your student is learning from home. It’s almost homeschooling. But with the awesome GISD resources created by our awesome GISD curriculum experts,” explained Dr Bonnie Martinez, Garland ISD’s eLearning coordinator during a Facebook Live Wednesday to answer families’ questions.
For the Gray family, it’s an improvement.
“I know a lot of people who are extremely excited about this. Because it’s something. It’s something. People have been emailing the school board, superintendent, trying to get something, anything. It’s a step in the right direction,” said Gray.
As quick as she is to jump at the opportunity, though, she knows the program won’t work for many of the families anxious their children could be exposed to COVID-19 at school.
“I hate it to be honest,” she said.
She wishes the state and district would take stronger steps to make schools safe for the sake of kids like Charlotte.
“She’s my baby. She’s had it really rough,” said Gray. “I’ve had to cancel so much in her life. Because of her disease. School is the one thing I shouldn’t have to cancel.”
The district says the parent-led option will be a short-term program it will re-evaluate in six weeks to see if it should continue.
Parents have until midnight Friday, August 20, to enroll.