School Is Back in Session, But School Leaders Worry About Empty Desks

Schools are trying whatever it takes to try to get students back in the classroom

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Thousands of students headed back to class today across North Texas for the first time since last week's winter storm, but many school leaders are worried about the students who won't show up.    

For months school leaders in the Irving Independent School District have been leaving the office and knocking on students' doors.

They're bringing food, talking about family issues, and help figure out a way to get more students back in the classroom.

This week they're handing out with some 400 bags of food.

"This week it's all about 'do you have connectivity,' 'what can we do to support you,' it really isn't about what can we do for attendance, it's what can we do to meet your individual need," said Lance Campbell, head of attendance for Irving ISD.

Sympathy was the name of the game across the area but school leaders say they can't ignore the number of students who just aren't logging into virtual classes or walking into the building, the numbers are growing.

"We're seeing an increase in our numbers because of the storm, there's just so many things that have happened," said Samuel Nix, Chief of Schools for Duncanville Independent School District.

Now that families are without water, living out of hotels, and just mentally exhausted from the winter storm and the pandemic they worry the number of students not going to class will keep getting bigger.

"It's reality we have to deal with. it's a challenge on top of a challenge, on top of a challenge," said Nix. "It's not our families fault, that they're in the situation so what we have to do is understand where they are, and meet them where they are."

From superintendents getting tough knocking on doors to smiles and food, schools are trying whatever it takes to try to get students back and it's often not just lack of interest.

"It could be technology, that they lack technology, or multiple siblings in the household that they're sharing one device trying to get work done across several different grade levels," said Marc Smith, Superintendent, Duncanville ISD.


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