Birdville ISD, Mansfield ISD and Northwest ISD are the latest North Texas school districts to add a temporary remote learning option for kids in grades six and below.
The three North Texas school districts announced the virtual learning options for kids who are currently not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Friday.
The Texas Education Agency said it would not give districts money for virtual programs, leaving districts to fund remote learning through local and federal funding.
Mansfield ISD said it would use a portion of its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief to offer a 12-week virtual option due to "the continued rising number of COVID-19 cases."
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In a letter to parents and guardians, Mansfield ISD superintendent Kimberley Cantu said the deadline to apply for the district's virtual instruction is on Monday, Aug. 16 and that virtual learning would begin Aug. 25, one week after in-person learning is scheduled to begin in the district.
Northwest ISD is offering a nine-week option, and superintendent Ryder Warren said the district's K-6 grade families would receive a commitment form by the end of the day on Friday.
In a letter to Northwest ISD students, families and staff, Warren said the decision to offer virtual learning was due to a shortage of pediatric ICU beds in North Texas and "a spike in children being afflicted with COVID – a concern compounded by increasing RSV and flu cases in our hospitals."
He also said Northwest ISD would comply with Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning mask mandates in Texas public schools despite the defiance of the order from several Texas school districts and counties.
Birdville ISD said its virtual learning option, a "Temporary Virtual Learning Academy," is limited to 350 total spots districtwide, not per school.
The TVLA is limited to 50 spots per grade and will be offered until Oct. 29.
The district had a total of 23,503 students in grades K-12 in the 2019-2020 school year, according to the Texas Tribune.
Applications for the remote learning option is on a first-come, first-serve basis, the school district said, and the link to apply will be live on 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14.
The three districts joined several other North Texas districts that previously said they would offer online learning options, including Coppell, Frisco, Kaufman, Plano and Richardson ISDs.