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Allen ISD to send struggling at-home students back to the classroom

The district said it’s in the best interest of the students’ academic success. Parents said it comes at the expense of their health and safety.

ALLEN, Texas — As COVID-19 continues to spread in North Texas, Allen Independent School District students who are struggling with at-home learning will be sent back into the classroom, the district informed parents Friday. 

“While many of our at-home learners are flourishing in the virtual setting, some students have not been as successful academically,” read a statement provided by a district spokesperson to WFAA.

Parents received an email detailing the changes Friday afternoon.

“There was no warning whatsoever this was going to happen,” Allen ISD parent Alison Hope said. “I just don’t see how that makes any sense.”

The email suggests the move is in the best interest of the students’ academic success.

Hope said it comes at the expense of the health and safety of the students, their families, as well as teachers and staff. 

“To make them to go back to school I think is not the right decision right now, especially with the [COVID-19] numbers like they are, and they’re supposed to be getting worse,” said Hope. 

Hope said she’d rather see tutoring or extra credit opportunities.

“I think there needs to be some kind of compromise," Hope said. "Some middle ground that they can meet to help these students succeed at home rather than to face this health crisis in school.”

An appeal process will be available to parents who object to sending their kids to in-person classes, according to the district’s statement.

“As always, we will work with our families to find a solution that supports the health and educational needs of our students,” the statement said.

The changes would affect: 

  • Students in Kindergarten and 1st grade who aren’t meeting grade level expectations.
  • Students from 2nd to 6th grade with an average of 60 or below in one or more subjects, not including art music or PE.
  • Kids K-6 with 9 or more unexcused absences.
  • Secondary students with an average of 60 or below in one subject, or a 65 or below in two or more subjects.
  • Secondary students who are not meeting 90 percent of the required seat time for attendance.

The standards are more lenient than the TEA guidelines announced Nov. 19 that open the door for districts to shift struggling at-home learners into the classroom, if they have a class average of 70 or below or three unexcused absences in a grading period.

Allen ISD students who are moved from at-home learning to in-person learning because of attendance or performance would be required to stay in-person through the rest of the school year.