Since the spread of COVID-19 caused shutdowns of school systems across Texas, the Kaufman Independent School District has adapted to continue educating its students via online classes.
“Any type of change is difficult, but our teachers rose to the occasion,” said Lori Blaylock, superintendent of KISD, addressing how parents and teachers are working together to achieve their goals. “Within one week after returning from spring break, we were up and running with virtual instruction.”
Students receive schooling via online applications, primarily Google Classroom and Google Meet, where they are assigned work and receive live instruction from their teachers. High school students have a full schedule; younger students have a daily assignment, and receive instruction via google classroom twice a week.
The switch to online schooling hasn’t come without issue. Blaylock said the biggest issue staff has faced is connectivity – about 30% of students in the district do not have internet access. These students are given paper instruction packets to complete. Blaylock also said parents were overwhelmed at first, especially with difficulties logging into the programs used.
“Things have really settled down now,” she said, noting that it’s been five weeks since the district and families started this unplanned experiment. “I think parents have developed their own schedules, the teachers certainly have adapted to their schedules, and, of course, kids are the most adaptable of all.”
Not everyone has found the switch so easy. Gabi Casteñeda, who has two children participating in the online classes, says the change has been difficult, especially while working two jobs. “It is hard, I want to literally lock myself in the bathroom and cry everyday,” Casteñeda jokes. While they haven’t experienced connectivity issues, Casteñeda says it has been a struggle to keep both kids focused, and find the time to complete all the assignments the children receive. The upside? Her children have not fallen ill with the usual sniffles and sneezes since schools made the switch to online classes. “They have not got sick since we’ve been out,” she said. “That’s the biggest plus, they’re not getting sick as much.”
Blaylock expressed gratitude for the efforts made by staff, parents and students.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the teachers for stepping up, and parents stepping up, to get these kids an education.”
KISD aims to continue virtual instruction through the end of the school year, which is set to end on May 20.