HISD Plans To Separate In-Person Students from Virtual

HISD plans to fully reopen schools for the 2021-22 schools year with a Virtual Academy for online students.

Image from HISD

HISD plans to fully reopen schools for the 2021-22 schools year with a Virtual Academy for online students.


HISD recently announced its reopening plan for the 2021-22 school year. This plan includes details regarding how teachers and students will reintegrate into the classroom and numerous other things, but most importantly it decides the fate of students and teachers who decide to stay online. According to the current proposal, online students will be required to learn separately and with different teachers than those going in person, in a “Virtual Academy.” 

When HISD released its plan for the 2020-21 school year, parents were divided. Many agreed with the district in the belief that students and teachers should have the option to stay online. On the opposing side, many parents believed that all students and teachers should be required to return in person. At CVHS, this led to a majority of the student body deciding to continue with online school. Earlier in the school year, administrators fought to ensure that all CVHS students would be able to remain at CVHS under the instruction of CVHS teachers, whether they opt for virtual or in-person learning. 

One teacher spearheading this discussion is Erica Harris, English III and Creative writing teacher at Carnegie. According to Harris, the PTO is currently discussing, “how we can make sure we can keep our students, but also not necessarily shift, any extra burden to teachers and I’m not saying that doing both is a burden, but it does require more planning, and just more to do in person and virtual.”

This is important as teachers are already over-burdened during this pandemic and forcing them to return to school and teach both online and virtual may be too much for some. The PTO is currently discussing numerous ideas but the preliminary one is a survey of students. 

“We’re going to try to see if we can get an informal survey to students and families, to see how many students would either come back to Carnegie or leave if they were forced to come face to face because it could be a moot point where most students are like yeah we’re gonna come back to in-person,” said Harris. 

This survey will serve as a benchmark to check if most students plan to return. 

Liam Lautner is a current Carnegie freshman who plans to attend school in person next year. According to Lautner, “Even though I’m going in person next year, I think that it is unfair to force kids to basically leave their school in order to feel safe.”

Students and teachers alike seem to agree that it is challenging to replicate the experience of schools such as Carnegie, Debakey, and HSPVA in an online space. Everyone seems to agree that it would be beneficial to assure that all students are taught by teachers at their schools and that all are able to get the full experience of their schools. Although this sentiment may not be shared by the district it is not a moot point within specialty schools.