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Parents, students react to possibility of no virtual option, in-person classes only this fall

The Texas Education Agency now says schools will not be required to offer remote learning.

NEDERLAND, Texas — Back to school this fall will be anything but normal. 

Southeast Texas parents are having a variety of reactions as they start to consider whether to send kids back to the classroom.

Travis Tallant is a Nederland ISD parent.

"We're preparing for it, we're optimistic," Tallant said.

Others like Missy Loue tell 12News, "I am not, we are going to be looking for online classes."

Rachel Bolin, a mother of three Lumberton ISD students, says "It's hard to say right now, I would like to do virtual."

While parents have differing ideas on what they believe is best for their kids, a couple of Beaumont United students are ready to go back. 

"I do want to go back to school this year, just to get my senior experience," senior Julius Stelly said.

"I do want to get back to school, miss all my friends and teachers," junior Chandler Rivers added.

In their most recent guidelines, the Texas Education Agency now says schools will not be required to offer remote learning. 

So far, Port Neches-Groves ISD is the only district that's announced plans to only offer in-person classes.

RELATED: 'Our approach will be in-person schooling' | Port Neches-Groves ISD's reopening plan does not include online options

RELATED: West Hardin County CISD delays start of school until September 8

Julie Gauthier, assistant superintendent at PNGISD, told 12News there are a number of factors that went into making the decision. 

"Virtual learning is hard to meet the individual needs of our students. There are social and emotional things going on. Kids need food, breakfast and lunch provided for them. There is the social interaction that our kids have not had for 5 months," Gauthier said.

So what it your child goes to a district that isn't offering a virtual option this fall? 

According to the TEA, parents would have to withdraw their child from that school district and enroll them in another district to obtain that choice.

"It definitely needs to be an option wherever there is large populations or large amount of cases," Tallant said. 

Rivers tells 12News learning from home wouldn't be an issue, but it's not the preferred choice.

"I'm pretty sure we'd all rather be in the classroom face-to-face with the teacher," Rivers said. 

Many districts, like Beaumont ISD, haven't released its plans for the fall yet.

Stelly says with the football team already practicing safety procedures, he doesn't foresee students having a problem with it.

"Yes, it is going to work because we're actually doing that for football," Stelly said.

There's no question every family situation is different.

"It's pretty much impossible when you have three children and your at work all day, every day," Bolin said.

She wants to know if the state will offer any support for working parents.

"What can they implement for parents like me, parents that work full time?," Bolin asked.

Others like Tallant and Loue worry about the teachers.

"How do you take care of our teachers, what happens when they get sick?," Loue demanded.

"If they are offering part-remote learning, part learning in school, are the teachers going to be responsible for teaching two sets of classes and two curriculums?," Tallant wonders.

All the parents 12News spoke with Tuesday emphasized safety is the number one priority when it comes to their kids.

"I have cancer, I cannot send my kid back to get sick," Loue said. "It's not even worth it to me." 

West Hardin has already delayed its start date to the second week of September. Beaumont ISD will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss plans.

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'Our approach will be in-person schooling' | Port Neches-Groves ISD's reopening plan does not include online options

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COVID-19 Numbers: Five deaths, 133 new coronavirus cases reported in Southeast Texas