CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Students at West Oso School District returned to 100% in-person learning Monday as the district became the first in the area to do so.
District officials announced the decision to return to in-person learning last week after the Texas Education Agency said all school districts must return to in-person learning or risk the loss of state funding.
District leaders say all students and staff will wear masks at all times and hand sanitizer will be provided for everyone. Teachers were excited to welcome back their students at West Oso Elementary School earlier this morning.
“I am very excited and we are acting as our first day of school and it is wonderful to have them all back," third grade teacher Kornelya Reynolds said. "I was expecting this since the beginning of the year."
Parents were also excited to send their kids back to school.
“It’s about time, it’s good, I love it," said Mary, an elementary school parent. "They’re learning more here in school than they are at home with me."
“I’m okay with it as long as the kids are safe, teachers are safe, everybody is good,” said Peggy Johnson, another elementary school parent.
The district said it follows all CDC guidelines, keeping kids socially distanced with masks on, and will notify parents if their child is exposed to COVID-19 at school.
West Oso Superintendent Conrado Garcia said one of the reasons he felt most comfortable bringing kids back into the building is 80% of district teachers are vaccinated. He said most parents are in favor of students returning, but some were against it.
“There was a group that said, ‘oh no, I don’t trust the school, I don’t trust my son or daughter leaving this house,'” he said.
Garcia also said he understands those parents and their concerns, as a parent himself. If parents do not want to send their kids back, they will need a medical exemption from their child's doctor.
"The requirement right now is you need to return," Garcia said. "But if you have an issue with that, not to worry, we’re still going to assist them, but they need to go through this process. We’re not going to abandon them, they’re still our students."
Students who receive a medical exemption can remain virtual, and will still receive instruction from a West Oso teacher.
For more information on how to file for a medical exemption, Garcia said to contact the office at West Oso High School at 361-806-5960.