FORT WORTH, Texas — Board members for the Fort Worth Independent School District will revote next week on extending virtual learning into early November, a measure that failed to pass at a meeting earlier this week.
On Tuesday at a special meeting, the board voted 5-4 against extending virtual learning an additional four weeks.
If it had passed, in-person learning wouldn't be offered at least until November 2nd.
The district began the school year on September 8th doing virtual learning only for the first four weeks.
Going online for another four weeks into early November does not impact the district's state funding.
At the meeting, instead of extending virtual learning, superintendent Kent Scribner proposed a hybrid learning option that would begin on Oct. 5 where students could choose to go back to the classroom or continue learning virtually.
Under Scribner's proposal, teachers are required to return to work on Sept. 28.
Students are required to wear masks unless they have a medical condition, and teachers are responsible for handling the curriculum both online and in the classroom.
The board listened intently and questioned the Tarrant County Public Health Department for more than two hours before taking comments from the public, which consisted mostly of parents and teachers.
Public comment also lasted two hours.
The Tarrant County Public Health Department recommended that current data suggests staying with online learning only.
The board went into closed session and came out just after 1 a.m. to vote on the extension.
Following its failure, teachers were furious.
The United Educators Association of Texas, which represents about 6,000 teachers in Fort Worth ISD, blasted the decision to not stay online until early November.
“It’s going to cause a lot of health concerns and a lot of heartache and concern among staff and families,” said UEA executive director Steven Poole.
“When the Tarrant County Health Department is saying it is not safe right now, for the school board to ignore that medical advice is unconscionable."
Now, the district could be taking a U-turn.
On Friday, board president Cinto Ramos told WFAA that a board member who originally voted against the virtual learning extension had requested that the item be voted on again at a regularly called meeting next Tuesday.
Ramos said that since the measure failed, any board member could request that it be put back on the agenda for a revote.
Per Poole, teachers from UEA are scheduled to protest outside the meeting Tuesday.