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Some parents frustrated over technology issues during first day of virtual learning at Granbury ISD

"What’s happened so far is the equivalent of letting our students in the door and then abandoning them in the hallway for the rest of the day."

GRANBURY, Texas — School districts will face a variety of challenges this academic year, as classes get underway amid rising COVID-19 cases and communities offering a choice between in-person and virtual learning. 

Granbury ISD started school on Wednesday with families having the choice.

Superintendent Jeremy Glenn says approximately 80% of the approximately 7,000 students chose on-campus learning, which was fewer than expected.

“We saw virtual numbers much higher than early on we anticipated,” Glenn said.

Glenn said that led to the district not being able to distribute Chromebooks to every family that needed one in time for the first day of school.

Linda Conn has two middle school students and a kindergarten student. She  selected home learning because one of her children has a metabolic condition.

“My kids are sitting here as if it’s still summer and it breaks my heart,” Conn said. “I feel like the kids going in-person are on a pedestal and are getting more than the virtual."

Glenn said Granbury ISD plans to distribute needed Chromebooks for all families in the district on Monday.

For Kyle Van Deusen, it's connectivity that's lacking in his household, it's content. His 5th and 2nd grade students took their first day of school photos with new backpacks and were ready for virtual learning.

"And they sit down in front of a computer and logged on to see an empty screen," Van Deusen said. "What’s happened so far is the equivalent of letting our students in the door and then abandoning them in the hallway for the rest of the day."

Glenn said some parents didn’t let the district know which option they were choosing until a few days before school started, but added the virtual curriculum platform should be ready in the next 24 hours.

“I’m empathetic to those families that are ready to start school,” Glenn said. “I have no doubt that the quality of education for our online kids and in-person kids is going to be equal and it’s going to be outstanding.”