ALICE, Texas — This week’s edition of Table Talk takes us to Jim Wells County where the conversation centers around both the short- and long-term effects of COVID19 and remote learning.
In the City of Alice at El Jalisense Restaurant, the talk around the table is all about the future of our children. We heard plenty of cause and concern from parents and grandparents alike in this city of roughly 20,000 people.
Many telling us they’re worried kids aren't getting the best education with the pandemic forcing administrators to switch to virtual learning.
"Just not as motivated to learn,” Lucy Trevino-Barrera, a grandmother of 2 told us about her 6-year-old grandson Elijah.
Elijah’s grandfather, Ted Nire, agreed saying he thinks “generally it's better for most kids to be at schools.”
We sat down with Trevino-Barrera, Nire, and their 2 grandkids as they waited for lunch. It's a regular family outing and more of a routine especially these days.
“We can see the attitude about learning,” Trevino-Barrera added.
Despite the change in attitude, they say Elijah, who is in kindergarten, is doing well with virtual learning but not as good as he possibly could.
"Kind of bad,” Elijah told us when we asked him how it felt to learn at home. “I really like it at school.”
His favorite class is English even with some technical glitches.
When asked if he was still getting good grades, Elijah was quick to say no. But why? He says, “It's kind of hard on the computer.”
That's why his grandparents say they want the schools to re-open for in person learning as soon as possible
We questioned Trevino-Barrera as to why she wants kids to go back to school now with the surge in cases. "Well because we know it's just like any other illness,” she replied. “It's just like the flu. We'll get a handle on it.”
Trevino-Barrera says schools will be much safer places with administrators and educators getting the new covid-19 vaccines as long as they continue to wear masks and socially distance. :I think the CDC guidelines stay in place, I think they'll be OK,” she said.
But the impact from the pandemic might cause school districts throughout the state financially.
Many educators and administrators say next month, they’ll be facing a potential funding issue. The state bases funding on enrollment, and with the coronavirus, communities have seen those numbers decline.
We asked Elijah’s grandfather, Ted Nire, what he thought the state possibly taking money from the school districts would do. "In the long run,” he said, “they're going to decline if they take the money away.”
State officials have not announced any cuts, at least not yet.
So when will students return to in-classroom learning and will the state cut funding to those districts with declining enrollment? We'll have to wait and see.
What county should we head to for next Tuesday’s Table Talk? Feel free to get in touch with Paul through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at either @therealpaulmueller or @realpaulmueller