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Gregory-Portland ISD OKs waiver extending virtual learning

Posted at 9:12 PM, Aug 19, 2020

PORTLAND, Texas — A recent vote by the Gregory-Portland Independent School District's school board has paved the road for extended distance learning, if the district chooses to pursue it.

It is a move that Flour Bluff ISD made last week, and other area school districts currently are mulling.

With students scheduled to return to classrooms in just a couple of weeks, Monday's G-PISD decision provides the district with flexibility if it decides to keep its students learning virtually.

“Our current plan, based on health conditions and that's with the cases continuing to decline is that we will start face-to-face on September 8, for some of the families who have selected that as an option," said G-PISD's first-year superintendent Michelle Cavazos. "We have a majority of families that have said they would prefer to stay virtual.”

Cavazos said although the waiver will be submitted to the Texas Education Agency, plans to have students gradually return to campus still are in place. Students are set to return to face-to-face learning Sept. 8 in a phased-in process.

In the case the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in our area, the waiver lets the school district conduct classes online the full eight weeks allowed by TEA Commissioner Mike Moranth.

"We wanted to ask the board for the flexibility with that waiver in the event that we need to stay virtually 100% for a little bit longer," Cavazos said.

The safety of Gregory-Portland students, staff, and teachers is essential, she said.

"We know that when people feel safe and secure, they are more ready to learn, regardless of the situation," she said. "That is our priority."