Remote learning no longer will be an option for families in Louise ISD, a 530-student school district in Wharton County located about an hour and a half southwest of Houston along U.S. 59.
In a Sept. 22 letter to families, Superintendent Garth Oliver said online classes will not be offered starting Tuesday. He said while virtual learning had been billed as an option to engage students whose families feared COVID-19 spread in schools, “this approach has not been successful for more than a handful of students.”
“The effort required of our teachers and administrators will no longer be divided by the requirements of offering remote learning beginning Tuesday, September 29, 2020,” Oliver wrote. “If we begin to see health concerns develop, we will revisit this topic.”
Families who do not want to send their students to in-person instruction now have two options: They can withdraw their students to pursue homeschooling or private school, or they can request a transfer to a school district that still offers remote learning.
School districts are not required to offer remote instruction under current Texas Education Agency guidance. Those who do offer virtual school programs, however, also must offer in-person instruction to any student that lacks the technology necessary to participate.
As of Monday morning Wharton County had 104 active cases of COVID-19, according to the county’s office of emergency management, two of which were in the area of Louise. Since the pandemic began, the county has logged 1,435 cases of the new coronavirus, 171 of which were diagnosed in people aged 19 and younger. Thirty nine people in Wharton County have died of the illness, none of whom lived in Louise.