WACO, Texas – While the Waco and Marlin Independent School Districts vary greatly in size, they are both facing similar issues – they both have a substantial amount of their student body staying home this year.
Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon learned this week that over half the district’s student body is opting for online learning.
“We have approximately 8,400 of our expected 15,000 students that have registered,” Kincannon said. “Of those that have registered so far, approximately 56 percent have selected a remote learning option for next school year.”
Over in Marlin, the district’s executive director of student services, Dr. Stacy Parker, is awaiting families’ answers to their survey. Of those who have answered, 60 percent said they would stay home.
Parker is expecting this number to be around one-third of the student body when they return to campus, a return she says they are eager for.
“Some of the high school students, they expressed that they were ready to come back to some sense of normalcy,” Parker said. “They were ready to see their friends and their teachers and that they are ready for that part of their lives again.”
Even with a lot less students roaming the halls, this isn’t changing these districts’ safety protocols.
“Whether there is one or 1,000, we will treat that with the same severity,” Parker said. “We are keeping all plans in place in terms of our safety precautions and our action.”
For Waco ISD, having less than half their student body in the classroom could be a big help for their new COVID adjustments.
“The balance between in-person and remote instructions at this time seems like a good thing,” Kincannon said. “It will allow us the ability to do a really nice job of social distancing in the classrooms and on the campuses.”
The districts are also in the process of reassuring parents they have taken the necessary precautions.
“We’re just trying to do everything we can to let our families know that when they come back, we are taking their safety as our top priority,” Parker said.
Marlin ISD will return to campus August 31, and Waco ISD will do the same September 8.