Waco: Midway ISD approves 2 virtual learning options

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Midway School Board members have voted unanimously to move forward with two different virtual learning options.

The vote Tuesday will bring “remote conferencing” and “virtual school” to the district.

“Remote conferencing exists for students who are under quarantine or self-isolation for COVID,” Traci Marlin, Midway ISD’s Director of Communication, said.

“That is a temporary thing, it’s a limited number of days.”

Students will be able to login to remote conferencing to complete class hours so they can stay caught up and the district can continue to receive funding for attendance.

Dr. Becky Odajima, Director of Innovation and Learning, said students can qualify if they have a temporary medical condition documented by a physician, because of a test, formal diagnosis or suspicion of a communicable disease, or if the student is identified as a close contact of COVID-19.

Virtual conferencing has a maximum of 20 days, while virtual school is all semester long for a select group of students.

“It’s for our students with the most severe medical needs,” Marlin said.

“It will be very limited though because the state is not paying for it. We will be pulling those funds out of our federal relief dollars.”

Board members said students are not required to provide medical reason for virtual learning, but students who need it most will be prioritized for the limited spots in the program.

Those funds will go toward technology, equipment, and additional the teachers as those in the classroom will be focused solely on in-person instruction.

“There is going to be a need for extra staffing for remote conferencing and virtual school,” Marlin said.

“Some of those will range from certified teachers, some of those will be paraprofessional and aid opportunities, even substitute opportunities.”

School board members said they felt this option was needed to protect those most vulnerable.

“Information is changing daily from the state about what we can and cannot do about this, so we are working hard to put together the system, the protocols and the personnel immediately,” Marlin said

Midway ISD staff says more information will be released in the next couple of days.

The virtual program will begin in September.

Waco, Temple, and Killeen have not announced virtual school options at this time, but say they are willing to work with families to address their concerns. Those who contract COVID or are a close contact will be excused from school.

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