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West Texas school districts are preparing for the upcoming school year

School districts will be using new learning platforms to help their students stay engaged in fall extracurricular activities.

SAN ANGELO, Texas —

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many school districts across West Texas have been trying to figure out ways to ensure the safety of their students, but also keep them involved with school.

Schools were shut down, students were forced to transition to online learning using applications such as Zoom or Skype to communicate with teachers, but to also stay involved with extracurricular activities such as band.

With the 2020-2021 school year just a month away, West Texas school districts are laying out plans to make sure every student can continue to stay involved, and have some normalcy when school does begin.

San Angelo Independent School District Chief of School Leadership Wes Underwood said the new platform the district will be using this upcoming fall.

"We do have two options for parents," Underwood said. "We have a virtual academy for those who want to do learning virtually, and we also have an in-person option for students to attend as well."

The virtual learning will included classes such as art for students to be able to do at home. The in-person instruction will include classes such as band, football and cheer.

"Those are going to be the extracurricular activities that we do have planned that students can attend," Underwood said.

Abilene Independent School District also has its own plan in place for students in grades three-12 - synchronous learning. In an email, AISD Chief Communications Officer Lance Fleming, explained synchronous learning.

"The current plan for the Abilene ISD is to start school on our scheduled date August 20 with in-person and synchronous learning. Synchronous learning is online education that happens in real time," Fleming said in the email.

AISD will have Pre-K through second grade will be doing asynchronous learning. 

Christoval Independent School District is also looking into getting its students involved. Which s a general term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that do not occur in the same place or at the same time. 

With classes such as welding being offered, Christoval High School Principal John Choate said those courses are better off in-person. As a school district, CISD is following the plan of the SAISD, but Choate mentioned it is all subject to change in the upcoming days.

"We're pretty much doing whatever San Angelo is doing now," Choate said. "So we're expecting to be both online and face-to-face."

However, Choate said this has not been formally approved, and CISD board members will have an answer in the upcoming days.

All school districts ask families to be patient during this time. They are doing whatever they can to ensure each student can be involved, but each plan set in place could change moving forward, as the pandemic continues to evolve.