Parents in North Texas have a message for their school districts: open our schools.

On Thursday, parents rallied outside the Frisco Independent School District administration building, calling for students to be able to go back to school for safe in-person instruction.

Frisco ISD officials decided last week to limit students to remote virtual learning for the first three weeks of the school year, disappointing many parents who say their children have already regressed academically and socially due to being out of the classroom since March.

“I’m really passionate about getting our kids back,” said the mother of a special needs student. “These kids need to be in these environments. If we don’t have in-person, my kid’s falling back another semester. … We’ve lost a whole generation.”

After the rally, parents attended a special school board meeting to discuss the district’s back-to-school plans for Fall 2020.

Most parents who spoke at the meeting said they want and need the option to send their students back to school.

“Who’s going to monitor my kids’ virtual learning?” asked a mom of two who works from home. “I made a choice to have my kids taught in person, and now that’s not being honored. I had that choice taken away from me.”

Frisco ISD originally offered parents the option to send students back to school for in-person instruction or keep kids at home for virtual learning. Almost half chose on-campus, face-to-face learning.

A mother of seven told the board that she works from home, but there is no way she can work and manage online instruction for all of her kids, including two with special needs.

“It is impossible to try to be a teacher and work full time,” said a single working mom of twins.

“I get to stay home with my kids every day, and I’m drowning,” said a mother of five.

“You gave us a choice,” said another parent. “For those of us who chose in-person, you’ve disrupted our lives. … How long is my boss going to have patience because I’m home-schooling my child?”

“Please open our schools,” she added.

Nearby suburban school districts—including Allen, McKinney, Plano, and Lovejoy—also announced they will keep campuses closed for now and start the school year with three weeks of online-only classes, despite a significant percentage of parents requesting in-person learning.

Bucking the trend among its North Texas neighbors, Prosper ISD is offering parents the choice of in-person or virtual instruction when the school year starts.

McKinney ISD parents are holding two back-to-school rallies next Tuesday.

“Our kids need to be back to school, learning in-person, starting August 13,” said rally organizer Serena Ashcroft.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.