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New TEA guidance says schools can mandate failing students to return to the classroom

CCISD hasn't officially issued such an order, but there have been reports of students failing and missing classes.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some Texas students falling behind in online only classes could soon face a mandate from their public-school districts to either return to campus or find somewhere else to learn.

There are so many factors as to why a child, studying from home virtually could be failing or not doing the best they can.

“You can't discipline the trauma out of kids, you have to use a completely different approach,” said Dr. Sandra Celement with Corpus Christi ISD.

Dr. Clement say the reasons are as wide and varied as the students who make up the district.

“Pre COVID, our kids had many opportunities and they were engaged and dare not struggle the way they are now and clearly it's a lot of times it’s not their fault, but we do want them to become more engaged, we want them to show up for their classes,” said Dr. Clement.

The TEA issued guidance last week allowing school districts to stop offering virtual instruction to individual students with poor grades or attendance, if they deem it necessary.

In the meantime, there those who believe sending students back to the classroom amid the pandemic, isn't a good idea. 

"The numbers are high, we've gotten reports of that,” said president of Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers Union, Nancy Vera.

Although CCISD hasn't officially issued such an order, there have been reports of students failing and missing classes.

CCISD will be getting data on how students are doing academically once the second six-week numbers are calculated on Friday.

Nancy Vera, local president of the American Federation of Teachers Union, says sending kids back into the classroom for that reason, isn't enough reason to put them or teachers at risk of contracting the virus.

“We have so many nets in teaching, and teachers provide so many ways to pass classes that, there has to be another way or another excuse or another reason why students are failing. And teachers are trying to work on that,” said Vera.

It isn't clear whether any Corpus Christi area districts plan to use the new authority, though none has vocally lobbied for the power.

For now, both CCISD and the teachers union say being extra cautious during this pandemic is first and foremost for both teachers and students.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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