The Uvalde school district will offer an all-grades virtual academy for families that are not ready to return to a campus when school starts on Sept. 6.

Superintendent Hal Harrell discussed the option at a community dialogue session on Monday night. The virtual academy option will be open to all students who are enrolled in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, have reasonable access to a district campus, and have fewer than 10 absences last year.

What You Need To Know

  • Uvalde schools will offer a virtual academy for students who are not ready to return to brick-and-mortar campuses

  • Families that are interested can fill out a survey on the school district's Back to School page

  • The survey is open through Aug. 31

  • Those who apply early should be hearing back from the district by Aug. 15

“The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the interest survey. It came online Friday evening and will be open through Aug. 31,” Harrell said. “So, if that is something that you or your family is interested in, direct them to the website.”

Earlier in the summer, Harrell discussed some type of a homebound option for students who weren’t ready to return to a brick-and-mortar campus. This appears to be replaced by the virtual academy, which is being created with the help of Education Service Center 20, located in San Antonio.

Becky Reinhardt, UCISD’s coordinator for assessment and accountability, will spearhead the virtual academy for the school district. According to the website, instruction will be delivered over district-provided iPads. The learning management systems will be See Saw (K-2) and Canvas (3-12).

“Our virtual academy will be stood up for as long as we need it,” Harrell said.

The interest survey is located on the school district’s dedicated back-to-school page for the 2022-23 school year. UCISD will start the school year later than neighboring school districts, on the Tuesday after Labor Day, to make sure all upgrades security measures are in place by the first day of school.

New and returning students also can be enrolled on the back-to-school page.

Harrell, in his update on Monday night, said fencing has gone up at a number of campuses and 100 new cameras have been installed on the high school campus. Another 400 cameras will be scattered across the remaining school sites.

As to other safety and security measures, the district will have 33 police officers on site the first day of school, as well as hired campus monitors, Harrell said. Four new police officer candidates have been identified. Vestibules to create single campus entry points are being added. And the campuses have been assessed by a vendor who may be providing bullet-proof glass on all the UCISD campuses.

Speakers at the special-called meeting on Monday night didn’t storm out of the meeting — as they did on July 25 — but they did question what the school district was doing and why suspended Police Chief Pete Arredondo wasn’t fired.

“How are y’all going to change the perception (of you) in the community, especially the children?” one father asked. “I told my son that we’re going to have extra cost there, you know, and he said, ‘But who cares about the cops? They’re not going to do anything, anyway. They’re not going to go in, anyway.’”

Harrell agreed trust had been broken with the community. District staff and the school board, sitting on the auditorium stage, have to work hard to earn that trust.

“It’s going to take a while to regain that trust, and it’s going to take everyone across this stage right here, and everyone in this community to work together,” Harrell said. “You’re right. The trust that was there has been damaged. It has been broken, and it’s going to take a while to fix it.”

The crowd also wanted Harrell to immediately fire Arredondo, but Harrell and board members explained that Arredondo, as a hired police officer, had the right to go through a due-process hearing. That’s different from a teacher on a standard contract; a teacher can be fired at will.

The district has provided three potential dates for Arredondo’s due-process hearing. Once Arredondo’s attorney responds, and they agree on a date, the hearing will be posted, Harrell told the audience.