Distance learning continues at BISD

Distance learning is a given as the Brownville Independent School District continues to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

“ We’re looking at different models for the fall semester. We anticipate that we may have to start the year with a modified schedule and modified calendar,” Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said at a Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday. “Ideally we start the year back to normal but that may be very unlikely, so we are looking at different options for us to consider. … I think everyone would agree that it’s very unlikely that its going to be a normal first day of class.”

Gutierrez spoke after Anysia R. Treviño, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, provided an update on the district’s implementation of distance learning.

“ We’re going to have virtual summer school this year. That’s a new focus for us and for the state. We’ll see how it goes. That may be something we do from now on. That’s just how the world is evolving,” she said.

Treviño said about 1,000 elementary school and 2,900 secondary students will need summer school based on the number of instructional packets returned after the first round of distance learning. She said parents are continuing to ask for instructional devices.

Meanwhile, a survey among BISD parents found that about one in four is uncomfortable sending their kids back to school in the fall because of coronavirus concerns. Treviño said implementing a fully online curriculum for next year for those families would require the district to distribute about 20,000 additional instructional devices.

In a related matter, the board unanimously approved entering a memorandum of understanding to develop a digital broadband infrastructure plan and infrastructure strategy with the City of Brownsville, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp., the Brownsville Public Utilities Board and Texas Southmost College. BISD’s initial contribution to the effort is $21,000.